South West Water is reminding customers this Christmas to help avoid a foul festive season and fight off fatbergs by preventing cooking fats, oils and greases from going down the sink.

A single medium-sized turkey produces up to three quarters of a pint of fat and if put down pipes it cools and could potentially block them.

With almost one million households served by South West Water across Devon and Cornwall, if each one poured their turkey fat down their sinks it would mean the equivalent of over 2,800 bathtubs full of fat entering our sewers, an equivalent of 422,786 litres.

South West Water’s Director of Wastewater Recovery, Treatment and Networks, Guy Doble, said: “Don’t let the fat from your festive feast ruin your Christmas by causing blockages and fatbergs. Think about your sink over the seasonal period, and at all times, and don’t dispose of cooking fats, oils and greases down the drain.

“Tens of thousands of litres of waste fat, cooking oil and grease are poured down sinks in the South West each year along with food waste which can build up in pipes.

“These mix with wrongly flushed items such as wet wipes, hygiene wipes, cleaning wipes, cleansing pads and sanitary products causing blocked sewers which can lead to flooding in your homes and in the environment.

“Every year we deal with around 8,500 blocked sewers across our region, around one every hour and these can increase the risk of flooding and damage to customers’ homes and properties.

“So don’t let fat spoil the festivities this Christmas and play your part by only flushing the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – down the loo, and avoid pouring fats, oils and greases down your sink.”

South West Water serves around two million customers across the South West and in its region alone over 200,000 wet wipes find their way into the sewage network each day.

Each year the water company removes around 450 tonnes of unflushables such as wet wipes, sanitary products and cotton pads from pumping stations, the equivalent of 73 million wet wipes and 30 double decker buses.

Top Tips for Festive Feasts

You can avoid a foul festive season by following South West Water’s top tips for easy steps to stop the block:


Scrape food scraps and fat off your plates and into your bin or food waste recycling.


Use a container or Gunk Pot to collect cooled fats, oils and grease from roasting trays and frying pans. Put a sink strainer over the plughole to prevent any leftover bits going down the sink.


Give plates and pans a quick wipe with kitchen roll or newspaper to remove any liquid fat or grease before putting in the sink or dishwasher, or use kitchen foil.


Empty your full container or Gunk Pot into your kitchen bin, then wipe it out with kitchen roll ready to reuse.

Find out more on the ThinkSink! Webpage: