` How bad are fatbergs for the sewers? | Wildon (UK) LTD

0800 998 1374

Skip to content

0800 998 1374

Head Office 01889 529 234 / 01782 606 706

KSB logo Lowara logo ITT logo Constructionline logo British Water logo Klargester logo TT Pumps logo EBara logo
Water tank

How bad are fatbergs for the sewers?

Posted on November 15, 2018

Fatbergs are a growing problem for sewer systems, particularly in big cities, as ageing infrastructure struggles to keep up with present day demand. They are a grim consequence of modern living as many don’t consider where things go once flushed or washed away, taking for granted that modern plumbing just works. As more and more fatbergs are unearthed in the sewer systems beneath our feet, we have to face the reality that what we put down the drains in homes and businesses across the country can have rather ghastly effects. So, let’s delve a little deeper into the fatberg problem.

What exactly is a fatberg?

The name itself – ‘fatberg’ – conjures a pretty negative image of hulking masses blocking huge sections of sewer systems, and this is a pretty accurate depiction. Fatbergs are made up from non-biodegradable items – for example, wet wipes, nappies, sanitary towels and condoms – which get stuck to congealed grease, oil and fat. The grease, oils and fats, which largely come from cooking, stick to the sewer walls and catch wet wipes etc. as they travel through the pipes, eventually building up into an ugly, putrid mass. What’s more, over time the grease, oils and fats can solidify, becoming as strong as concrete – this makes it hard for the sewers to operate and for the mass to be cleared.

What are the effects of fatbergs?

The effects of fatbergs can be severe if they aren’t discovered in good time. As the mass grows, picking up more and more non-biodegradable items, the capacity of the pipes will reduce, slowing down the sewer flow. The bigger the fatberg grows, the easier it will be to collect more waste and so they can quickly grow into colossal obstructions. For the properties above ground, slower sewers can mean slow draining fixtures as well as foul smells from your drains.

If the sewer becomes entirely blocked or close to fully obstructed, the repercussions can be disastrous. Sewage backups can be very unpleasant and render sinks, toilets and showers unusable. Furthermore, the blockage and backing up sewage can create a buildup of pressure which can cause pipes to rupture and spill raw sewage which can even find its way into the street and properties above.

If a fatberg starts forming in a sewer, it is vital that it is cleared as soon as possible. The clear such a mass, a lot of manpower and industrial strength equipment is needed which makes this is a costly problem to fix. As an example, in London, the large population and Victorian sewers system combine to create a perfect storm for fatbergs. As such, Thames Water estimate they spend around £1 million every month clearing blockages in sewers.

How can fatbergs be prevented?

The incredible thing about fatbergs is that they are entirely preventable. Simply, they are the result of waste accumulating which should never have been be poured or flushed away. So, you can actually help to prevent fatbergs occurring simply by being conscious of what you flush away. For businesses, particularly in commercial kitchens, installing grease traps on sinks can be a great way to help. On an individual level, follow the advice of water companies: if it’s not pee, poo or toilet paper, don’t flush it.

 

Wildon UK are wastewater experts, helping customers throughout the UK with sewage treatment. Our team of experienced and highly trained engineers can offer reliable installations, maintenance and repair work for a large variety of sewage systems. If you have any enquiries, get in touch with our team of experts today who will be more than happy to help.

Go back to

Speak to our friendly consultants today, call: 0800 998 1374

Farm Slurry Systems

Learning to manage animal waste efficiently forms part of helping your business to grow and flourish, as you draw on resources that are readily available, and farm slurry systems provides the ideal way to achieve this. Read More »

  • Design
    As wastewater specialists, we can design a system that is tailored around your individual needs.

  • Supply
    Once a design has been created we will supply and install it safely at your premises.

  • Maintenance
    We are on hand to carry out any maintenance duties to avoid unwanted problems in the future.

  • Repairs
    Our wastewater engineers are highly trained to perform any repairs necessary to keep your system working efficiently.

Wildon (UK) Ltd is a registered company in England. Registered Number 5759940 VAT Number 217 95 81 80