St Andrews’ drains have been put on a diet.
Scottish Water is stepping up its fight against fat with the launch of the first scheme of its kind to hit Scotland.
The war against ghastly fatbergs, which can cause major flooding and pollution, is being waged in the Fife town in a trial aimed at cutting the number of sewer blockages caused by fat, oil and grease (FOG) incorrectly disposed of by food businesses.
It is not only pounds of fat the town can help shed. Scottish Water is called out to an average of 95 blockages a day at a cost of £6.5 million a year.
More than half these blockages are caused by FOG being incorrectly thrown down drains and sinks.
The Fat Free Sewer project will see takeaways, cafes, restaurants and hotels visited by food waste management experts who will look at their grease management systems – it’s estimated around eight in 10 across Scotland have inadequate systems or none at all.
Scottish Water’s waste water operations general manager Mike Will said the consequences on the environment can be huge.
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If combined with other things, such as wet wipes, which should not be flushed away, the consequences could be “catastrophic”.
“This pilot project, for the first time, will see us proactively visiting food serving premises, giving them advice and guidance on what they can do to protect and preserve our valuable sewer network.
“We are effectively attempting to put St Andrews’ drains on a diet.”
The busy university and tourist town was picked for the six-month pilot as it has more than 100 eateries all within a small space.
If the project succeeds it will be rolled out to other parts of Scotland. It has been welcomed by Zero Waste Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful and will see Scottish Water work with Fife Council’s environmental team.
Environment spokesman, SNP Councillor Ross Vettraino, said: “An efficient sewerage system is an unseen but essential component of an environment, which we can enjoy and of which we can all be proud.”