Failure to properly dispose of food waste such as turkey grease could lead to blocked sewers and pipes, Northumbrian Water has warned.
As families across the region prepare to cook Christmas dinner, they are often unaware of the potential problems that could be caused by the big wash leading to blocked pipes.
Clearing up can often involve the disposal of large volumes of fats, oils and grease.
However, people who pour these down their sink could be unwittingly creating blockages that result in household waste backing up into homes or the environment.
Simon Cyhanko, head of wastewater networks at Northumbrian Water, which manages around 18,000 miles of sewer in the north-east, said: "Fats, oils and grease, which we call FOG, play a big part in causing blockages in the sewer network. People pour them down the sink and when they cool they solidify and block the flow of everything else that's in there. When that happens, the waste gets forced backwards and can surge out of manholes or back into homes.
"The fat from a cooked turkey alone can be enough to fill a Christmas pudding bowl and many of the pipes closest to homes are as narrow as four inches in diameter, so the potential for a blockage is huge.
"So, please, help yourselves avoid a Christmas disaster. Let the fats, oils and grease cool, then scrape them into the bin. Don't pour them down the sink.”
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