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Restaurant convicted for blocking sewers with fat

A Shrewsbury restaurant has been prosecuted for blocking sewers with fat, oil and grease.

SCE Catering, trading as Saffron Cottage in Ford, had been pouring used cooking fat down the drain and into the sewer where it coagulated and caused the blockage. This resulted in the sewer overflowing into a local watercourse and causing a pollution.

Water company Severn Trent visited the premises on several occasions, and sent various letters, asking for grease traps to be installed and warning of the consequences, but the owners didn’t comply.

Saffron Cottage pleaded guilty to the case brought against it by Severn Trent and has been fined a total of £9,266 at Telford Magistrates’ Court.

This is only the third time such a case that has been brought in the UK and the second by Severn Trent to be successful.
Chris Giles, head of network operations for Severn Trent Water, commented: “The verdict in this case is an important milestone for us, and we really want this to make other companies think about what they are doing with regards to disposing of fats, oils and grease and how it impacts our customers. 

“We clear around 50,000 blockages a year and fat contributes to the majority of those, as it binds together all the other things that end up in the sewer rather than the bin and creates huge lumps which block the sewers. 

“This is totally avoidable and in this case, simply installing a small grease trap could have prevented the situation.  Legal action is a last resort for us, but our customers and the environment shouldn’t have to suffer because of the actions of one business not following the rules, and ignoring our advice.”

Under section 111 of the Water Industry Act it is an offence to discharge anything into the sewer that may interfere with the free flow. 



Oil should never be heated above 205°C (400°F) or it will spoil more rapidly


Oil should be filtered daily to remove the small pieces of charred food which might accumulate


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