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Steer clear of fatbergs

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Steer clear of fatbergs

Have you ever faced a fatberg?

Chances are that your wastewater utility has.

According to WaterOperator.org, the term fatberg started in 2008 when it was used to describe “the large rock-like lumps of cooking fat” that result when fats, oils or grease (F.O.G.) are sent down the drain.

F.O.G. congeals into large, solid deposits that settle in sewer pipes, where they might continue growing as other flushed materials get caught. In addition to unimaginable foul smells, the clogs can create costly physical problems such as sewage backups, basement floods and sewage overflows.

In 2017, a fatberg caused 1.2 million gallons of sewage to spill into Jones Falls in Baltimore. The next year in Macomb, Michigan, a 19-ton fatberg consisting largely of flushable wipes was found. It measured 100 feet long, 11 feet wide and six feet tall.

WaterOperator.org offers these simple steps to reduce the chance of creating a fatberg in your home’s pipes:

  • Install grease traps from commercial businesses
  • Do not allow coffee grounds, fat, oils or other food items to go down your drain, even if you have a garbage disposal
  • Never flush wet wipes or anything other than toilet paper down the toilet

The City of Portland, Oregon, has a partial list of items that should not be flushed down the toilet or allowed to drain from a sink. The list includes the following:

  • Auto fluids
  • Bandages
  • Contact lenses
  • Cotton balls/swabs
  • Paint
  • Paper towels
  • Unused medications

As fatbergs are such a prevalent national problem, you can also implement education campaigns in your neighborhood or workplace.

If you need a visual aid to better understand the problem fatbergs can present, there are several videos online.

Photo by Phil Vela, WaterOperator.org

| Categories: | Tags: fatberg, water operator, flushable wipe, pipe, clog, fats, oils, grease, fog, F.O.G., sewer, wastewater, drain, toilet | View Count: (1003) | Return
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