Pipe Relining Blog

How fatbergs affect every home

How fatbergs affect every home

You might have seen the latest mammoth fatberg story which has been in the news recently. The small town of Sidmouth in the south of England, about the size of Warwick Qld, has uncovered a giant fatberg lurking in the sewers. The enormous clog of fat, grease, oil, wet wipes, food scraps and other debris is a whopping 64 metres long and will possibly take local council team around 8 weeks to remove using high-pressure water jetter, picks and shovels.

How Fatbergs affect you - Drains

The local water authority is urging residents to ‘put their drains on a diet’ and ‘not to feed the fatberg’ in an effort to reduce the problem in the town. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare and probably not a great bit of publicity for the seaside town which would rely on tourism for much of its income.

Thankfully it’s happening 16, 500 km away in the UK and doesn’t affect us. Or does it?

In actual fact, councils and water authorities across Australia are battling their own fatberg epidemic every single day.

Queensland Urban Utilities cleared over 4000 fatbergs from Brisbane sewers and drains just last winter, forking out about 1.5 million to keep the drains flowing effectively over the year.

Still don’t think it affects you? Well, those costs are covered by being passed on to home and business owners each quarter on the rates bill. Even if you’re renting those expenses can trickle down causing an increase in rent prices.

These drain build ups bring with them an added bonus - an almighty stench. Make no mistake, they stink. Those tackling the problem of clearing the clog need to wear full breathing apparatus. A staff member of Thames Water who had to deal with the grandaddy of fatbergs in London 2017 described the smell as “rotting meat mixed with the odour of a smelly toilet”. Mmmmm, breath it in… Are your eyes watering?

The cream on the top, or maybe we should say grease, is that home plumbing systems are not immune to the mini fatberg, with household drains clogging up regularly.

What causes fatbergs?

All sorts of substances combine to form large masses (or fatbergs) in the drain. Most of it household rubbish which should be thrown in the bit rather than down the drain. Stuff like:

  • Fat, grease, oil
  • Food debris
  • Wet wipes
  • Sanitary items
  • Condoms
  • Nappies and nappy liners
  • Paper towel, cotton buds, cotton balls and makeup remover pads.

Preventing fatbergs in your drains

Keeping your home drains clear of the dreaded fatberg is actually easy. It only takes small changes and can have a flow-on effect to your local council, state waterways, as well as the environment in your area.

  • Stick with the 3 P’s rule - only poo, pee, and (toilet) paper go in the toilet
  • Put used cooking oil, grease, and fat into an old jar or can, and dispose of it in the rubbish bin once it cools.
  • Use a sink strainer on the kitchen sink, vanity, shower and bath to prevent food scraps, hair, dental floss, and other items being washed down the drain.
  • Regular drain cleaning
  • Address problems promptly - slow draining sinks? Get your plumber to have a look without delay before the issue becomes a complete blockage.

Need help with the drains on your Brisbane property? Contact our drain specialists today.

Ref - https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-46795022, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-08/sidmouths-64-metre-long-fatberg/10700616,

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