Thames Water has set up a team of Network Protection Investigators in a bid to reduce the number of sewer blockages caused by the discharge of Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) from the 45,000 restaurants and takeaways in their catchment. The team deliver proactive engagement using the approach- inform, educate and enforce to tackle sewer misuse.
During these targeted visits the team investigates current kitchen practice whilst providing advice and information to customers on their legal obligations and duties. By working with customers, the aim is to see grease management installed to control the discharge of FOG. Through this proactive intervention Thames Water have built lasting relationships with their customers that can stop the problem at source and prevent future incidents, reducing the need for disruption to the wider community such as road closures.
Sewer misuse comes at a cost to Thames Water, therefore the team investigates and seeks to recover costs from the responsible party for the damage caused by their sewer misuse. As well as financial impacts, allowing the discharge of FOG or any damaging matter such as wet wipes constitutes a criminal offence and the Network Protection team enforces Thames Water`s statutory power under Section 111 of The Water Industry Act 1991.