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Monday, 11 June 2018 11:39

Fatbergs inspire youngster's BBC winning story and new association

Fatbergs have inspired a pupil to write an unusual and heroic tale winning bronze in a national contest run by BBC Radio 2, and the formation of a new association to tackle fatberg via the correct use of kitchen grease traps.

Francesca Wade’s tale of Agent Ramsbottom’s fight against Dr Fatbürg, who was turning waste in London’s sewers into fish and chips for adults to eat, has won a Bronze Award in the Chris Evans Breakfast Show 500 Word Awards.

fatbergy youngster  dara obrienShe was one of 135,000 children, aged 5 to 13, who entered the 500 Words competition that aims to inspire young people to get excited about reading and writing.

Francesca won in the 5-9 age category and received her award from comedian and science presenter Dara Ó Briain at Hampton Court Palace Friday 8th June 2018. The Duchess of Cornwall attended the event in her role as an honorary judge.

Francesca’s story helps raise awareness about fatbergs which build up in Britain’s sewers because fats, oils, grease, and other waste, such as wipes and sanitary products, are wrongly disposed of down drains.

Andy Brierley, Director of Lanes Utilities, part of Lanes Group plc, and the wastewater network services maintenance provider for Thames Water, said he was delighted Francesca had taken up the fatberg theme.

fatberg in pipe thames waterHe added: “Francesca’s story is very entertaining and funny but, like all good stories, it also has a serious issue at its heart. Firstly, us adults like eating too much fatty foods. Secondly, we then allow the waste oil and fat to get into drains and sewers, allowing fatbergs to build up, causing very costly major blockages and inconvenience for everyone, and damaging the sewer system.

“I won’t give away any more details about the plot of Francesca’s excellent story because I don’t want to spoil things for people who want to enjoy reading it. But I can assure Francesca and everyone else that we’re doing all we can to keep sewers free of fatbergs and to educate the public so we can stop Dr Fatbürg being such a menace in the future!”

Lanes Group, an independent drainage specialist, has developed a national Fatberg Fighters programme which helps primary schools educate pupils about Britain’s drains and sewers.

Aided by a lesson plan developed by professional teachers, children are invited to become ‘Fatberg Fighters’ and champion best practice, both at school and at home, in preventing the blocking of drains and sewers.

Lanes Utilities worked with Thames Water to remove the Whitechapel Fatberg, now the focus of a highly popular exhibition at the Museum of London.

It also backs the water company’s ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign to educate the public about how to keep drains and sewers running freely.

Fatberg fightback bolstered by association launch

Correctly sizing, installing and maintaining kitchen grease traps is key to improving the health of the UK’s sewer network. That is the view of the Grease Contractors Association (GCA), an initiative centred on best practice for the specification, installation and maintenance of grease traps and management systems.

GCA 2 Grease copyGCA co-chairman Edward Palin said: “The arrival of monster fatbergs has put grease on the agenda as people can see the damage they cause and the costs to clear them. What is not clear to restaurant operators is how to correctly size and maintain grease traps to satisfy the water utilities and regulations.

“It is also the case that there are varying practices in the industry around what to do with grease waste.”

The Grease Contractors Association, which is administered by industry trade association British Water, has been three years in the making. It is a collaboration of seven of the largest operators in the grease trap maintenance sector who have pooled industry knowledge and best practice to create a code of practice for the sizing, installation and maintenance of grease traps.

Each member of the GCA has been independently audited by British Water to check process standards for installation, maintenance and waste handling practices amongst others. The audit is then carried out on a regular basis to ensure standards are maintained.

The GCA is now recruiting members and wants to sign up all contractors involved in the maintenance of grease traps. “The more contractors we have working to the high standards that have been set, the more effective the UK’s grease management equipment will be,” said Palin.

The GCA is hosting a recruitment day on the 4 July 2018 in Rugby. If you would be interested in joining and finding out more email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The GCA is an initiative in association with British Water. www.greasecontractors.org