Fatbergs started as a one-off occurrence in Whitechapel, London. However, over the past 24-months it has become a regular feature. Increasing awareness of the issues has prompted both governmental and non-governmental bodies to look closer at the issue and associated building codes.

Not only can blockages flood your premises, but you could also risk prosecution if your business disposes of Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) carelessly. Protect your business and be prepared when your local water company checks for compliance.

Do you know the laws on Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG)

Legislation has been in place for a long time to ensure food premises dispose of FOG responsibly. But it has taken until now for enforcement to catch up. If your business interferes with the free flow of the sewers a prosecution can result in substantial fines or even imprisonment. So be aware of the following legislation:

• Section 59 Building Act 1984
• Food Safety Act 1990
• Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991
• Building Regulations: Building Regulations, DH1 section 2.21

Food Safety Act 1990

The Food Safety Act 1990 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the statutory obligation to treat food intended for human consumption in a controlled and managed way.
[...] Food Safety Act 1990 - Issues caused by fats, oils and greases in the sewers and subsequent failure to comply with the Food Hygiene Regulations, could give grounds for an emergency prohibition order or prosecution.

Water Industry Act 1991

Water Industry Act 1991 (Section 111) gives the water companies the power to bring a criminal proceeding against anyone who causes injury or inhibits the free flow of the sewer network. FOG are included in this; therefore it is within their power to prosecute for FOG contamination.
They also have the power to ‘recharge’; this is when they charge users of the sewer network with any costs involved in clearing blockages or resolving environmental issues due to floods as a result of blockages. These charges can be considerable.
Water Companies can also work with their local government offices, specifically Environmental Health, to bring about ‘improvement orders’ and ‘prohibition orders’ to force a site to improve their practices.

Building Regulations 2010

The regulations apply to most new buildings and many alterations to existing buildings. A series of approved documents provide general guidance about how specific aspects of building design and construction can comply with the Building Regulations.

The Building Regulations 2010 - Drainage serving kitchens in commercial hot food premises should be fitted with a grease separator complying with BS EN 1825-1:2004 and designed in accordance with BS EN 1825-2:2002 or other effective means of grease removal.

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