This holiday season, SA Water is asking all South Australians to keep their sewers healthy by putting leftover cooking fats and oils into the bin and not down the drain.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Production and Treatment Lisa Hannant said it might seem easy to turn a blind eye to tipping roast turkey fat down the sink, but the effects of this could cause a sight that can’t be un-seen.
“When they’re put down the drain, fats and oils will continue to build up in either your internal pipework or our sewer mains – forming a big solidified mass known as a ‘fatberg’ – and sooner or later that build-up will cause a blockage and send everything in the pipes back up,” Lisa said.
“The last thing you want when sitting down to family lunch is an overflow of sewage into your yard or even worse, inside your house.
“As well as acting like glue that catches debris to create blockages and foul-smelling odours in the pipes, fats and oils discourage the growth of the naturally-occurring good bacteria needed in the treatment process at our wastewater treatment plants.
“By appropriately disposing of cooking leftovers as well as any food scraps, coffee grounds or tea leaves, you can avoid an unnecessary call to a plumber, protect your pipework, assist us to keep treatment and other operational costs down and help safeguard the environment.
“While we’re giving this message an extra push during the holidays when people have more time to spend in the kitchen, the advice applies all year-round.”
Over the past few months, SA Water customers have taken heed of the utility’s calls to only flush the three Ps – poo, pee and (toilet) paper – down the toilet, as another way of avoiding sewer blockages and overflows, with an overwhelming response on social media especially.
“We’ve loved getting your feedback and promises to change flushing behaviour, in response to some rather gross photos we’ve been posting online of unwanted items like wet wipes, tampons, sanitary pads and nappies which we’ve pulled from the sewers or our wastewater treatment plants,” Lisa said.
“Please keep up the good work, and hopefully we’ll start seeing a reduction in the number of blockages in the sewers and fewer overflows experienced by our customers.”
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