People are living closer to each other than ever before. Some Australian cities, like many others across the world, are becoming quite congested. Then it’s no surprise that sewers, drains and plumbing pipes are becoming more clogged.
Have you recently had to call in the services of a blocked drain plumber Melbourne and other busy Australian cities are relying on? You’re not alone. There seems to be an influx in blocked drain calls in recent years. There’s one main culprit – fatbergs.
What are Fatbergs?
For many plumbers, fatbergs are their least favourite F word. In short, a fatberg is a slimy mass made up of oils, fats, wet wipes and a host of other non-biodegradable items that have been flushed down into drains and sewer systems.
How are Fatbergs Formed?
It doesn’t take much to form these giant, disgusting masses rolling around in our sewer systems. All it takes is a few wet wipes rolling around in some cooking oil and gathering up all sorts of gross items as it rolls down your pipes.
The more items in your pipes and drains, the more stuff will get attached to this mass, ultimately forming fatbergs that eventually block drains and sewer lines. Simply imagine an iceberg, but instead of clean white ice, these fatbergs or made of oil, grease and whatever gunk imaginable. It’s oily, smelly and absolutely disgusting!
Reasons Why Fatbergs Seem to be on the Increase
In recent years it seems there has been an increase in the creation of fatbergs all over the sewer and drain lines in Australia. What is the likely reason for this?
- Populations around the globe are on the increase: This adds to the rise in used products such as wet wipes, diapers, personal hygiene products, condoms and wet wipes. Despite numerous articles on the correct disposal of these items, many people still flush them down the toilet.
- Increase of fast food outlets and restaurants: While many companies recycle their cooking oil and grease products, the reality is, just as many don’t.
- Household grease & oil: Many homeowners, despite knowing the risks of washing oil and grease down the sink, continue to do it. In addition, many people still scrape leftover food and sauces down the drain. This oil and grease create the base for the fatbergs as it moves through the pipes.
Golden Rules—Do Your Bit to Conquer These Bergs
One of the ways plumbers and environmentalists are trying to change or slow down the creation of these bergs in our water and sewer infrastructures is by continuous education.
If everyone in your street follows the rules listed below, think of the impact it will have on your local sewer line.
- Never pour cooking oil or fat down the sink. Wait for the fat or oil to cool down and then scrape it into a dustbin if you aren’t able to recycle it.
- Never pour harsh chemicals such as paint or any other industrial chemicals down any of your drains.
- Food scraps should be cleaned out of plates and pots before being placed in the sink. This goes for tea leaves and coffee grounds as well.
- We’ve all heard the rule about the three Ps. Only pee, paper and poo should be flushed down the toilet.
- Never flush baby items such as wet wipes or diapers down the toilet. Wet wipes aren’t flushable, despite what advertising tells you. While they may flush out of your sight, they still end up attaching themselves to your cooking oil in the drain.
- Unbelievably, even dental floss creates a problem! Dental floss, whether flushed or washed down the bathroom sink, ends up clinging onto the fatberg and since it’s string-like, it makes the perfect snagger for wet wipes.
- Other items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet include cosmetic wipes, cotton wool, pads & tampons, paper towels and cigarette buts.
Ways to Keep the Local Fatberg at Bay
Aside from following the golden rules, what can you do? Regularly rinse your drains and sinks with boiling water and vinegar to break down any fat build-up.
Speak to your plumber about the best ways to clean your particular pipes and how often they should be flushed out. The good news is, doing this will also keep your own plumbing clean and unblocked!
Anyone who has ever seen a fatberg up close will tell you it’s quite disgusting! Not to mention unsanitary, considering what it’s up of. While plumbers are equipped to deal with the problem, it eventually creates a major impact on the local environment.
Part of solving the problem is to avoid flushing anything that shouldn’t be flushed and avoid pouring oil, grease or scraps of food down your home’s drains and sinks. Additionally, spread the word. Educate and encourage other people to exercise proper disposal practices. Doing this puts us one step closer to conquering these giant bergs!