Five facts about Fatbergs
Fatbergs provide a glimpse into the darker side of modern life. These oily beasts are growing right beneath our feet and clogging sewers around the world. Here are just five facts about Fatbergs that you should know.
‘Fatberg’ is in the dictionary
The term ‘fatberg’ was coined by the sewer works of Thames Water. The description conjures up a pale floating mass of epic proportions—an iceberg of fat. The term ‘fatberg’ caught on well enough to make it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.
The Whitechapel Fatberg was autopsied in 2018.
Scientists on the TV program Fatberg Autopsy: Secrets of the Sewers, analysed five metric tons of the monstrous mass, to see what the content of the grisly lump was that was clogging the water system.
They found that it was made up of the usual suspects of any fatberg—everything from cooking oil to wipes and nappies. A whopping 90% of the mass was cooking oil, and worryingly, potentially deadly bacteria listeria and E. coli were detected.
‘Gutter Oil’ has been illegally used for cooking
In China, fat from sewers and traps is illicitly collected, cleaned up (though not well) and sold on the black market as “gutter oil.” In cheap restaurants and street stalls, your dinner might even be cooked in gutter oil.
Fatbergs are expensive
New York City recently started a fatberg campaign and said that the city spends approximately $18.8 million a year to degrease the sewers, deal with damage caused by sewer backups, and repair plant equipment and transport those items to landfill. As these costs increase, it will also increase water and sewer rates.
- London spends £15 to £50 million annually removing fatbergs from city sewers.
- Detroit recently cleared a single 100-foot long fatberg found in an 11-foot diameter pipe at a cost of $100,000.
It’s no secret that the cost of Fatbergs is extortionate and continue to be a persistent problem for water and sanitation companies.
Fatbergs damage the environment
While it is relatively easy to calculate the cost of domestic fatberg removal, it is not as easy to calculate the cost of the environmental damage that occurs when sewers overflow. Fatbergs clog sewers and restrict the flow of waste. When a sewer line is too restricted, that raw sewage can flow into homes, streets, residential areas, rivers, lakes and oceans through manholes and street drains. It is estimated that 65 percent of all sewer spills are caused by fats, oils and grease (FOG).
Once this raw sewage finds its way out of the sewer, it doesn’t take long for it to run into our clean water supply. The environmental and health implications are disastrous.
Don’t Feed the Fatberg!
- Pour cooking oils and grease into a small container with absorbent material, such as a paper towel or coffee grounds, and dispose of it in the trash.
- Scrape food from plates into the bin and wipe down greasy plates, pots and pans with a paper towel before washing.
- Prevent food from entering your sewer by covering your kitchen sink drain with a strainer.
- If you run a commercial kitchen, call us today to enquire about installing one of our grease traps, saving you time and money to prevent clogged drains.
Join Our Mission to save the environment and properly dispose of Fats, Oils, and Grease.
Employee of the week – Chance!
Chance is always keeping us on our toes, even playing with them regularly. When Roz is not here Chance is definitely the co boss here at RGR. At the same time she is also always there for a furry cuddle if we need one!