Consistent communications key to fighting fatbergs

Wednesday 13th October, 2021

Every year, fat, oil and grease (FOG) related sewer blockages and spills cost global water authorities billions to clear and can have devastating impacts on the environment.

In the UK, water companies spend £100 million every year clearing blockages caused by things that should never have entered the sewage system.  There is a very clear link between FOG blockages and spills to our rivers, contributing to last year’s 440,000 combined sewer overflow releases in England. 

The last few years have seen sustained growth in the food service industry with more restaurants and takeaways opening in city centres across the UK. This denser concentration of food service establishments (FSEs), along with legacy combined sewer networks, are contributing to a greater build-up of FOG in wastewater systems. This, combined with more frequent and intense rainfall events as a result of climate change, is leading to more cases of severe sewer flooding and pollution incidents. 

Administered by British Water, the Grease Contractors Association is a non-profit organisation of specifiers, installers and maintainers of grease management systems which is working with the hospitality industry, legislative and regulatory bodies and academic bodies to bring collaborative change related to the management FOG. This week (w/c Oct 11), it is publishing its new Grease Management Equipment Guide, which provides an overview of all types of grease management equipment, outlining the different methods available for commercial kitchens.

We know the vast majority of FSEs work incredibly hard to have the right grease management systems in place, however, we have found there to be some confusion around legislation, standards and appropriate products, heightened by a lack of unified approach from the industry. We believe that consistent messaging and accessible communications, combined with industry collaboration, education and innovation is key to the fight against fatbergs, which is why we are pleased to support Unblocktober 2021.

Another fantastic example of cross-sector collaboration is the upcoming European FOG Summit, taking place in Brighton, UK, on Thursday 14 October 2021. Hosted jointly by technology company SwiftComply, Southern Water and British Water, and sponsored by Unblocktober, the collaborative event will bring together water, wastewater and sustainability experts to explore new ways tackling FOG in sewers.

The GCA is looking forward to joining the conversations and hearing from industry experts in examining the current challenge and what the future might hold, proactive mitigation, technological solutions, international research and the role FOG can play in local authorities’ sustainability goals. 

The European FOG Summit will take place on 14 October 2021, at the Hilton Brighton Metropole -

For more details about the Grease Contractors Association and our free equipment guide -