A fatberg is defined as a large mass of solid waste and fat accumulating in the sewage system. It forms over time as households and commercial kitchens (in restaurants, pubs, and hotels) pour fat and grease down the drain, forcing water utilities to spend millions every year on clearing up the blockages.
By some estimates, there are over 300,000 sewer blockages in the UK annually because of accumulated fat! Fatbergs are a menace and one that is only now entering popular consciousness as a problem that needs an immediate solution.
Some famous fatbergs that will amaze you
Fatbergs are a persistent problem in the UK, with numerous reports of their appearance surfacing. This prompts the inquiry: what are some of the largest fatbergs discovered in the country? To answer this, we have created a list of the most substantial fatbergs found in the UK – notorious for their enormity and FOGs removal wastewater treatment. These include:
1. Dublin Road fatberg
This fatberg clogged up the sewers under several restaurants in Belfast in 2017 and weighed around 200 tonnes. Its formation was directly linked to businesses not properly disposing of fats and grease and not installing grease traps in their sinks.
2. Northwest fatberg
In 2019, Liverpool tackled a fatberg estimated to be the biggest ever found in the Northwest, at 84 tonnes (the same as 13 African elephants). And this was just one of the 25,000 sewer blockages that plague the region yearly.
3. Welshpool fatberg
This Welsh town is known for its sewer blockages owing to improperly cleaned fatty material. This particular fatberg occurred in 2015, weighed 120 tonnes and was as long as a football pitch. The authorities were able to clear it up in five hours.
Still, they continue to caution local residents about the fatberg menace, as they have had to tackle 143 similar incidents between 2011 and 2020.
4. Fatty Mcfatberg
This beast of a fatberg was found in Whitechapel, London, in 2017, at 250 metres long and a weight of 130 tonnes, i.e. the same as 11 double-decker buses. A team of eight broke it down over several weeks, aiming high-power jets at it daily.
Today, some pieces are on display at the Museum of London, along with a manhole cover installed by Thames Water, a water services company, to honour those who undertook FOG removal wastewater treatment. Most of it, however, was put to good use by Argent Energy and converted into 10,000 litres of biodiesel.
How businesses can get rid of fatbergs
The best way to combat the fatberg menace is to avoid any fat clogging up in the first place. Here are some tips for FOGs removal wastewater treatment:
- Commercial kitchens should remember to scrape the plates and cookware free of grease before rinsing it in the sink or placing them in the dishwasher.
- Throw out all chunks of food and congealed fat in the appropriate waste receptacle so that they do not land in the pipeline and cause blockage.
- Wet wipes are a big problem when it comes to fatberg formation. Do not let them enter the drainage system! Dispose of them in the rubbish.
- Install grease traps in the sinks to catch any residual fats, oils or greasy material, particularly in the case of a restaurant or any other commercial venture.
- Regular sewage system maintenance, including cleaning pipes and pumping tanks, can help prevent fatberg formation. Besides, make sure periodic drain inspections happen so that any accumulated fats can be cleaned up before they become too massive.
- If a fatberg is suspected of clogging up the drains, it is vital to report it to the utility company immediately so that they can take care of it. Be mindful that if the fatberg is linked directly to your business, you may have to pay for FOGs removal wastewater treatment.
- This can include a grease trap to prevent grease from entering the sewage system or using BiOWiSH® Aqua FOG to break down the fatberg completely.
- Businesses should educate their staff on the proper disposal of waste, including grease, oils, and fats. This can be done through regular training sessions and by providing clear guidelines for waste disposal.
- Post signage or provide information to customers on the proper disposal of waste to help reduce the risk of fatberg formation. Ask them not to flush non-degradable items such as wet wipes and sanitary napkins down the toilet and report any blockages or sewer backups to the staff. Make sure you provide appropriate bins.
Over to you
In the food service industry, fat, oil, and grease (FOG) are common by-products of food preparation and meal service. Over time, these substances build up and create a layer over wastewater, reducing its oxygen content. BiOWiSH® Aqua FOG is a natural solution that effectively removes FOGs and keeps pipelines clean.
Specially formulated for wastewater with FOGs content of over 100 mg/L, regular use of BiOWiSH® Aqua FOG improves the performance of treatment systems like grease traps, oil-water separators, and dissolved air flotation units.
Implement sustainable FOG removal with our help. We are proud to be an exclusive partner of BiOWiSH® in the UK. Contact us to find out more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How are fatbergs formed?
Fatbergs are formed when non-degradable materials such as grease, oil, starches, wet wipes, and sanitary products are flushed down the toilet or drain and mixed with other waste materials. Over time, this mixture solidifies and forms a large clump, often referred to as a fatberg, which can cause blockages in the sewage system and cause environmental problems if not treated properly.
2. How are fatbergs cleared?
Fatbergs are cleared by professional sewer maintenance workers using a combination of manual removal and specialised equipment. The process typically involves breaking up the fatberg into smaller pieces, removing the waste, and disposing of it properly. This can be a complex and challenging task, as fatbergs can be large, heavy, and located in difficult to access areas of the sewer system. In some cases, high-pressure jetting or excavation may be necessary to clear the fatberg. It is important for communities to encourage proper waste disposal habits to prevent the formation of fatbergs and protect the environment.