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What exactly is a fatberg, and why are they blocking sewers? | FOG Safe

May 14, 2018

 

FOG Safe Drain Guard, fatberg, water, waterways, environment, FOG, disposalThe term fatberg is finding its way into our lives in a multitude of ways. The rise in sewers clogged by these heaps of congealed fat, oil, grease and trash is making the news much more frequently. The Museum of London has gone one step further, and setup an entire exhibit dedicated to fatbergs and education around what causes them and how to prevent them. It is safe to say that the term fatberg is here to stay. So let’s dive into what really makes up these sewer monsters that are quickly and quietly growing beneath our cities.

The Composition of a Fatberg

Fatbergs are caused by people pouring cooking oil down the drain – which then congeals with items that should not be flushed, such as wet wipes – fatbergs are an increasing problem for water companies, particularly in urban areas (The Guardian). A recent autopsy of London’s Whitechapel fatberg found that it was comprised of:

  • Cooking oil (Comprises 90% of the mass.)
  • Flushable wipes (Which should never be flushed.)
  • Sanitary Pads & Tampons
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Prescription Medications
  • Skin Cream Substances
  • Gym Supplements
  • Street Drugs
  • Bacteria (Such as: listeria and E. coli, some of which can be potentially deadly and resistant to antibiotics.)

The worst offenders are cooking oils/fats and wet wipes, which are often marketed as “flushable”. But unlike toilet paper, these wipes take years to break down as they often contain plastic, and shouldn’t be flushed at all. When the fat, oil and grease (FOG) cools down, the fat tends to solidify around other flushed items such as wet wipes. The resulting fatberg mass then sticks to the sewer walls and hardens until it becomes as hard as concrete (CNN). This happens over time, until eventually the sewer is packed tight and can no longer let the sewage flow through. When this raw sewage cannot flow easily through the sewer lines, it comes up through manholes and backs up into our homes, causing property damage and deadly contamination.

Fatbergs tell us more about daily life than we would probably like to imagine. Of course, we should not be putting cooking oil down the kitchen sink and wet wipes should never get flushed—but the other substances found in fatbergs, offer a macabre glimpse into modern society.

The FOG Safe Drain Guard

Fried foods and oily foods aren’t going anywhere, which means that in order to prevent fatbergs, we need to properly dispose of fat, oil and grease after cooking a meal. The FOG Safe Drain Guard was created to do just this.

The FOG Safe Drain Guard is designed to be placed into the top of your kitchen sink drain, so you can quickly and easily pour the used cooking oil or grease into it and then promptly dispose of it. You no longer need to store or freeze the used cooking oil and grease in your kitchen before disposing of it. (Watch the FOG Safe Drain Guard in action over on our YouTube channel.)

FOG Safe is designed with recyclable materials to absorb the FOG waste and can be thrown out with your regular garbage. This one easy change in your kitchen cleaning routine will save you money from costly plumbing repairs, the city from expensive sewer damage, and our environment from deadly contamination.

Ready to give FOG Safe a try in your kitchen? Head on over to our shop!

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