Collaborative working reduces sewer blockages

SEVERN TRENT Water and McDonald’s have joined forces to reduce sewer blockages, by helping to educate staff about what they shouldn’t be pouring down sinks and drains at the food chain’s restaurants.

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The partnership is part of a drive to minimise blockages in sewers and drains across the Midlands.


The water company has been helping McDonald’s to set up an awareness raising programme for a pilot group of managers across the Midlands on how to dispose of fats and oils from cooking, and understand the environmental benefits of looking after their pipes and local sewers. Severn Trent is also supporting them with regular maintenance of the sewer pipes near to the restaurants.


James Jesic, head of operations at Severn Trent Water, said: “We’re really pleased that McDonald’s has agreed to work with us on reducing sewer blockages. McDonald’s strives to reduce the impact its restaurants have on the environment, so this was something they were really keen to do with us. The response from their staff has been great; they’re so keen to learn about how they can play a key part in reducing sewer blockages and improving their local environment.


“Most blockages are caused by people putting the wrong things down their toilets and sinks, and we normally only know about the blockage when sewage is backing up and spilling out onto the road, so education on preventing the blockage in the first place is key to protecting the environment. By working with a company like McDonald’s, who take their environmental responsibility so seriously, together we’ll be able to make a significant difference to the number of blockages which are caused by fats, oils and greases. This in turn will serve as role model behaviour to other companies. We’re also using it as an opportunity to talk to them about how they can become more efficient with the amount of water they use.


Sarah McLean, Managing Director of 12 restaurants in the Midlands area said: “This collaborative approach on behalf of Severn Trent Water with my management teams has been a positive experience in ensuring we work in a pro-active way to operating the restaurants. It is an important aspect of our overall due diligence in providing a service to our customers and employing large numbers of staff that my team acts responsibly to protect the environment and sets the example. “


James added: “McDonald’s may be a big company, but their staff and all of our other customers can put the same principles in to practice at home. It’s easy to assume that the warm grease and fat left over from a meal could be poured down the sink, as long as it’s washed down with a lot of hot soapy water.


“But the reality is that quite quickly the fat and grease will cool and solidify, build up and potentially block a drain or sewer. It’s better to wipe out any greasy pans with a bit of kitchen roll, and then put it in the bin. Large amounts of left over cooking grease should be poured into a pot or jar with a lid, or one of the free fat traps that our customers can request from our website “