A NEW campaign aims to stop 'fatbergs' forming beneath a North Dorset town.

The initiative, spearheaded by Wessex Water and the Environmental Compliance and Services (ECAS), will encourage food businesses to correctly dispose of cooking and food waste so it doesn't end up in sewers.

Food waste and cooking fats congeal when they’re cooled, forming ‘fatbergs’ that block pipes, drains and sewers. This can then lead to sewage backing up into homes and businesses, as well as pollution of local watercourses.

Wessex Water says the focus is on Shaftesbury "as the town does have a high number of blockages caused by fat, oil and grease being poured down the drain".

There are no plans currently to roll out the same project elsewhere.

Bournemouth Echo:

An example of a fatberg

George Taylor, Wessex Water’s director of sewerage, said: “Every year in Shaftesbury we remove around 864,000 litres of fats, oils and greases – or FOGs as they’re often called – from the inlet traps at our water recycling centre and the sewer network, where they can cause blockages.

"That’s enough to fill about eight double decker buses.

"The aim of this partnership is to work with the whole community to stop the wrong things ending up in the sewers.

"Shaftesbury is a beautiful town and like all communities in our area, we don’t want it to experience any nasty blockages.

"But that’s sadly been the case recently – compounded by the fact that there are lots of eateries located in close proximity to each other, serving the locals, plus the many visitors that come to the area.”

As part of the ongoing ‘Stop the Block’ initiative by Wessex Water, ECAS will visit food establishments from late August. Commercial kitchen staff in restaurants, pubs, hotels, fast food outlets, cafés, schools, and canteens will be shown how they can help keep the sewers free from blockages.