Nando’s and Severn Trent cooking up a new partnership to stop the block

Monday 24 July, 2023

Severn Trent has served up a new partnership with Nando’s in a major new initiative to reduce damaging drain blockages by trapping the fats, oils, and greases (FOG) which can create fatbergs – and cause devastating blockages.

Nando's is now using specially-installed equipment at seven venues across the West and East Midlands to stop FOG flowing into sewers where, if unchecked, could potentially block pipes, cause flooding and land sewers in ‘hot’ water stopping them flowing.

Any fats, oils and greases in sewers can go on to form huge fatbergs like the one seen in Birmingham in May 2021. It weighed an astonishing 300 tonnes and was 1km in length and took days to clear out by Severn Trent teams.

But in a pioneering new scheme the new FOG traps have been fitted to cooking equipment at Nando’s venues at Showcase in Nottingham, New Street, Birmingham, Bentley Bridge in Wednesfield, Coventry Arena, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Fosse Park in Leicester.

Sam McCarthy, Head of Sustainability at Nando’s, said: “We are fired up to find new ways to be more sustainable and to be kinder to our environment. Effective FOG management is just one example of this, and we are currently trialling different systems of FOG catchers across a number of our restaurants in the Severn Trent area. We are continuing to monitor FOG arrangements in our restaurants on internal audits and run regular internal reminders and re-training on processes for restaurants. We know this is a journey and are delighted to be working with Severn Trent."

Helping people to understand how and why to avoid blockages is a big priority for Severn Trent as they can cause sewer flooding and pollution incidents. Latest data shows in one year the company inspected around 37,000 sewers, cleansed around 18,000 pipes and repaired around 7,700 pipes.

With support from partners ECAS, Severn Trent is also engaging with local FSEs (food service establishments), and has made nearly a thousand visits to restaurants, cafes and other eateries across the Severn Trent region in the last four months alone, resulting in 527,000 litres of FOG being stopped from going into the sewer network.

Since Severn Trent started the FSE scheme, a total of 10 million litres have been trapped, and 76% of the food firms working with the water company have installed correctly sized and maintained grease trapping equipment.

Grant Mitchell, FOG expert at Severn Trent, said: “Teaming up with Nandos to put the environment on the menu will help reduce damaging drain blockages to avoid potential fatbergs.

“Putting the wrong things down the drain can have a devastating impact on communities and the environment. 

“Fats, oils and greases (FOG) solidify quickly once it leaves the sink. Other unflushables then attach creating ‘fatbergs’ which then block the drain or sewer.

“Having effective grease management equipment in place means FSE’s can prevent drain and sewer blockages, avoid clear out charges and in some cases avoid prosecution.

And in a message to other FSE companies, Grant added: “If you don’t currently have any grease management equipment in place, now is the best time to talk to us. We can visit you and see what you need. We will work with you to make sure you choose the right equipment for your business needs.”

Severn Trent is continuing to offer help and advice to all businesses and householders on how to avoid FOG blockages.

“We know blockages can be a horrible experience for our customers and we want to help them stop this from happening, so we are continuing to let customers know about what should and shouldn’t go down the sink or loo,” Grant said.

“We can all play a part in helping keep our sewers free of FOG. To do that, it’s vital we should only ever flush the 3 Ps down the toilet – poo, pee and paper.”