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Avoiding fatbergs: Why pouring turkey oils and greases down the sink is a terrible idea

Irish Water and Clean Coasts are urging people not to pour the oil from their Christmas turkey down the sink.

Image: Naoise Culhane

PEOPLE ARE BEING urged to avoid pouring fats, oils and greases from their roast turkey down the kitchen sink this Christmas time, as it can cause sewer blockages and even form fatbergs.

Irish Water and Clean Coasts teamed up earlier this month to issue the call, and said that already this year there had been more than 6,000 sewer blockages in the public network caused by fats, oils and greases put down sinks.

When combined with the flushing of wet wipes and other sanitary items, blockages can become fatbergs which ultimately damage the environment and costs a lot to remove, they said.

The advice with the grease and oils generated by your turkey is to put it in the bin.

Irish Water’s Kate Gannon said: “The size and scale of the task of keeping the sewer network flowing is substantial. That’s why raising awareness of the issue through this Christmas campaign is so important.

Our message is simple. This Christmas we want to remind the public that small changes in our kitchens can help. We’re asking public to “think before you pour” fats, oils and greases down the sink. It only takes an extra couple of seconds to safely dispose of products like fat by putting them in the bin.

In the first nine months of this year, Irish Water estimates that it removed 4,700 blockages. 

It cost over €7 million to remove these blockages from the sewer network in 2017. 

The company has combined with Clean Coasts for the Think Before You Flush campaign, which is about “changing people’s flushing behaviour” like never using the toilet to dispose items such as nappies, wet wipes, cotton bud sticks, food, plasters etc. 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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