Restaurant fined £9,000 after fat blocked sewers and polluted waterway

A restaurant has been fined more than £9,000 after fat and oil poured down a drain blocked a sewer and caused a waterway to become polluted. 

SCE Catering Limited, trading as Saffron Cottage in Ford, Shrewbury, was prosecuted by Severn Trent Water, in only the third case of its kind to be brought in the UK.

The restaurant pleaded guilty to pouring fat into the sewer and interfering with the free flow at Telford Magistrates’ Court and was fined £9,266, including costs.

Severn Trent Water said that the restaurant caused a huge blockage of fat, which resulted in the sewer overflowing into a local watercourse.

Investigators found that fat used in cooking was being poured down the restaurant’s drain.

Severn Trent said it sent several letters and visited the premises to ask for grease traps to be installed, but that its requests were ignored.

Chris Giles, head of network operations for Severn Trent Water, said: “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.”

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