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Case Studies

Fatberg Sewage Blockages Major Warning for the Planet

October 30 2017

These masses of wet wipes and grease cause huge environmental damage and contribute to problems across the globe.

The term fatberg was created to describe a congealed lump of fat, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, condoms, diapers and similar items found in sewer systems, which do not break down like toilet paper. It was coined by the authorities at Thames Water in London who have dealt with many such nightmares.

The latest fatberg found in the London sewer was described as heavier than 11 double-decker buses and was 250 metres long. Experts say it will take three weeks to dissolve, costing money and resources. Thames Water currently spends at least £1 million a month to clear these types of blockages.

This is unfortunately not the first or last of such blockages. Officials blame wet wipes as a major cause of fatbergs. They can clog together with oil, grease and fat easily.

Environmental concerns

Last year, we addressed the wipes crisis in Sydney, reporting of the regularity of such blockages and the costs associated with the removal process. It costs millions of dollars every year to combat this issue. While many of the wipes causing the problem are not advised to be flushed, there’s a category marketed as “flushable,” yet they cause the same issues. Overall, this is a costly problem and one with great environmental impact.

Compacted with the usage of the clogging and damage to sewer systems, is the noxious waste component of these wipes, which can trigger allergies or other health concerns. This is a global problem; one that needs to be examined and addressed. How can officials, experts, citizens and industry stakeholders work together to prevent the constant occurrence of fatbergs in the waste system?

How citizens can help

One in four people in Sydney is flushing wet wipes. That’s a significant amount of waste going through sewer systems that has no place there.  A study conducted by Choice Magazine using an agitation device shows there was no sign of these products truly breaking up or even losing strength.

According to the experts, it’s critical to only flush items that disintegrate immediately. Otherwise, there is likely to be blockages, which can then eventually lead to disastrous fatbergs. Thus, don’t ever flush wet wipes. They aren’t biodegradable. Dispose of them properly to help the planet.

Prevention strategies

There are new innovations to protect waste and sewer systems from tough debris. Allied Pumps has partnered with JWC Environmental to offer a solution with a range of waste shredders and screening systems. JWC provides innovative grinders. The latest technological advancement to curtail this issue is the Muffin Monster®. This grinder prevents clogging, reduces maintenance costs and protects valuable downstream equipment. It’s an effective means for solving tough solids problems and keeping entire systems flowing freely.

The Muffin Monster® grinders protect pumps and sludge dewatering equipment from clogging. They work to prevent torn belts and damaged rollers in belt presses. These grinders facilitate a balanced and efficient centrifuge operation. After dewatering, they ensure uniform particle size for easy handling and disposal. This system can revolutionise the way in which masses are combated. This can eliminate downtime and reduce maintenance costs.

Get in touch with us if you want to learn more about the Muffin Monster®.

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