Plea to keep drains clear of cooking oil to help avoid flooding in Norfolk

Flooding on Beatrice Road, Norwich. Photo: Alastair Harnden Flooding on Beatrice Road, Norwich. Photo: Alastair Harnden

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
12:51 PM

As parts of the region continue to mop up following flash flooding and torrential rain at the weekend, people are being urged to help keep drains clear and not dump cooking oil and fats down their kitchen sinks.

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Anglian Water deals with 35,000 blockages a year with more than half caused by items like used fats, oils and grease.

Today – as the region braces itself for more storms from Friday – Norwich City Council and Anglian Water are launching a cooking oil recycling scheme that aims to encourage householders to safely dispose of cooking oil and fats at new recycling banks, so instead of blocking drainage systems the waste can be turned into biodiesel.

Paul Gibbs, Anglian Water’s director of water recycling, said: “Avoidable blockages are a huge problem, expensive and bad for the environment. They can also be costly for homeowners if they end up with a blockage on their private sewer.

“That’s why our Keep It Clear campaign aims to get people to dispose of cooking fats responsibly. With this new solution from the council, rather than blocking up drains, your used cooking oil could be turned into biofuel and used again – it’s a win-win and makes perfect sense.”

City councillor Keith Driver, portfolio holder for waste and recycling, said: “The oil banks are really easy to use. You just put your used cooled oil and fat into a plastic or glass bottle or jar and drop it into the recycling bin – it doesn’t matter if the glass smashes, it will all be filtered out in the process. What’s more all the bottles get recycled.”

The new oil banks sit alongside existing mini recycling points at Waitrose in Eaton, near the shops in Enfield Road, Sainsburys in Queens Road, Morrisons in Albion Way, Tuckswood shops, and St Saviours car park.

Vegetable and cooking oil, lard, roasting fats, barbecue fats, grill fats, margarine and butter can all be placed in the banks, and Bensons Products Limited will then take them to a processing plant where the products will be turned into biodiesel.

A second initiative which could help reduce flooding during heavy rainfall is the Taverham Sustainable Drainage scheme, which will get underway from next week. The scheme aims to capture rainwater and divert it into a drainage system using special plants and grasses that also slow water and provide more opportunity for it to soak away into the soil or evaporate.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said both schemes were examples of initiatives that could help to combat flash-flooding.

8 comments

  • If like me you watched the TV series The Watermen you'd know that 99 per cent of their call outs were caused by blockages and floods caused by baby wipes being flushed down the loo. The packets should make users aware that they should NEVER EVER go down the loo. I went to a talk by our local climate expert Tim O'Riordan at the Norfolk Organic Group 18 months ago who explained that we can expect more flooding to come due to the glacier melts causing the rise in sea levels and therefore the rise in our water table. It's only going to become more of an issue. Nature evolves. Call it climate change or whatever. Norfolk is likely to suffer badly, particularly those areas where housing developments have been built on flood plains, and tareas with clay soil. There are actions we can all take to help, namely stop flushing unnecessary waste into our drainage systems, slow down floodwater runoff from the impervious surfaces like roofs (capture it in water butts) replace Tarmac drives etc with gravel or grass and plant more trees and hedgerows to help soak up the water and slow its flow. It'll affect our drinking water supplies too. So let's not moan. Let's not blame. Let's do something to help ourselves and those who live alongside us.

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    Zan

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Listen to Anglian Water and Norwich City Council tying to pass the buck for their own lack of maintenance.

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    Vic Sponge

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Not sure about how cooking oil is blocking up road drains, I'd rather like to see the road drains cleared as they used to be. I've not seen a council lorry clearing drains for years, now when we have a sudden downpour we get roads flooding. When the houses are flooded the insurance companies are expected to pick up the bill, it's a process called shift left or as I'd call it pass the buck. So here's how it works, the council don't clear road drains saving them money, the roads flood more often and when houses are damaged the insurance companies pay out, this leads to our insurance costs going up. So we pay for a service from the council, they fail to carry out the service and in the end we pay again, rip off Britain.

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    parkeg1

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Having worked in drain cleaning I always found that cotton buds were the worst thing to block drains plus baby wipes, both capable of blocking an entire waste water system

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    blister

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • .....it would be nice if someone could invent a machine that would pick up the grass cuttings when the roadside verges are cut.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • The main cause of flooding is that the drains are not cleaned as they used to be, we all know that. How many times do you see the tanker at the side of the road with a pipe in the drain cleaning out the rubbish. I haven't seen one for years. I saw a drain with plants growing out of it the other day when I was in the city. Ok I am out of the city but after working for a drain cleaning company some time back I have annually cleaned my own drains with rods and a brush.

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    JEN

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • There is a blocked gulley on Earlham Road. I have lost count of the number of times I have reported it to the the council and Anglia Water over many years; they are not interested! Flooding is only averted because the overspill goes down a drain on my private land which is prone to clogging from leaves (Council leaves). On many occasion I have had to kneel in torrential rain in the middle of a pavement lake with my arm 2 foot down the drain hole to clear the drain to prevent flooding. City householders who get flooded out may get sympathy from the authorities after the event but they want action before - forget it!

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    arborlinden

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Cooking fat and oil ends up in the sewer not the clear water drains like those that over flowed Sunday. They get blocked by tree matter etc and they are not regularly cleaned out. Don't blame the householder for not causing this problem.

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    KeithS

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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