Yorkshire Water educating Leeds food businesses on fat and grease disposal

Yorkshire Water colleague holding a large piece of a fatberg in Leeds city centre


A team of Yorkshire Water network engagement technicians have visited 94 restaurants and takeaways around City Square, Leeds to provide information on the correct disposal of fats, oils and greases.

The campaign is a bid to further educate businesses in the city centre of correct kitchen practices and grease management to help reduce blockages caused when the by-products of cooking are incorrectly poured down drains in the area.

Blockages caused by fats, oils and greases can lead to sewage escapes into the local environment and, in some cases, pollution of watercourses.

The most significant recent blockage was a 1.5-tonne fatberg that blocked up to 60% of the sewer outside the Queens Hotel, which was broken down and removed from the network in the area in November 2020.

Matthew Crawshaw, network protection team leader at Yorkshire Water, said: “The incorrect disposal of fats, oils and grease down drains and into the sewers can have a significant impact on our wastewater network. Once in the sewer fats can restrict the normal flow of wastewater and ultimately could cause a complete blockage of the network, resulting in sewage escapes and in the worst-case pollution to the local environment and watercourses.

“We have visited almost 100 food serving businesses in the City Square area to educate them on the impact fats, oils and grease can have on our network and to urge them dispose of these products correctly and prevent them from entering the sewer network.

“We will be carrying out repeat visits in the coming months to businesses where appropriate grease management was not in place to ensure steps have been taken to prevent the products entering the sewer network. We may also consider a staged enforcement with businesses that fail to implement correct grease management processes.”

This month, Yorkshire Water is supporting Unblocktober, a national campaign and awareness month to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses, and seas. Further details of the campaign can be found at http://unblocktober.org.