The fat from Christmas turkeys could fill nearly 3,000 bathtubs, according to one water company.
South West Water is urging customers to avoid a foul festive season by not pouring oils and grease down the sink.
A medium-sized turkey produces up to three-quarters of a pint of fat which, if put down pipes, cools and potentially causes blockages and fatbergs.
If each of the almost one million households served by South West Water across Devon and Cornwall poured turkey fat down their sinks, it would see the equivalent of more than 2,800 bathtubs full of grease entering the sewers, amounting to 422,786 litres.
The parent firm of South West Water reported a rise in profits just days after a warning from campaigners about raw sewage discharges in bathing waters and the announcement of a nationwide investigation into pollution from treatment works, reported Cornwall Live.
The Exeter-based Pennon Group reported a pre-tax profit of just over £90million in the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year – up by 4.3 per cent from the year before, partly due to the takeover of Bristol Water.
Surfers Against Sewage chief executive Hugo Tagholm said at the time after they investigated the scale of sewage discharges said: “The findings of our report are shocking and outrageous, but they are by no means unexpected.
“The fact is, water companies continue to increase profits whilst causing catastrophic damage to river and coastal ecosystems, with limited consequences.
“Instead, eyewatering sums of money are paid out in dividends to investors and huge pay packets are enjoyed by CEOs.
“Why should ordinary people bear the brunt of this greed whilst providers continue to decimate our natural environment?”
Wastewater director Iain Vosper said: “Don’t let the fat from your festive feast come back and haunt you as a ghost of Christmas past, causing blockages and fatbergs.
“Think about your sink this Christmas time, and don’t dispose of cooking fats, oils and greases down the drain.
“Tens of thousands of litres of waste fat, cooking oil and grease are poured down sinks in the South West each year along with food waste which can build up in pipes.
“These mix with wrongly flushed items such as wet wipes, hygiene wipes, cleaning wipes, cleansing pads and sanitary products, causing blocked sewers, which can lead to flooding in your homes and in the environment.
“Every year we deal with around 8,500 blocked sewers across our region – around one every hour — and these can increase the risk of flooding and damage to customers’ homes and properties.
“So don’t let fat spoil the festivities this Christmas and play your part by only flushing the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – down the loo, and avoid pouring fats, oils and greases down your sink.”
South West Water serves around two million customers across the South West, and in its region alone more than 200,000 wet wipes find their way into the sewage network each day.
Last year the water company removed more than 450 tonnes of items that should not have been flushed, such as wet wipes, sanitary products and cotton pads, from pumping stations.
In 2019 the company discovered a 210ft (64m) long fatberg blocking the sewer in Sidmouth.