As the war on fatbergs continue, so too does the rising cost in fatberg removal. As we know, fatbergs are somewhat disgusting, yet strangely comical, they give us an insight into the alien world of the sewer networks that help keep our towns and cities running smoothly. Right under our feet is a world of its own, sewers, drain pipes, waste water, pumps and clogging the entire system?….FATBERGS! and they come at a cost. A very big cost.
“Every year the UK spends about £100 million pounds clearing an estimated 300,000 fatbergs, the blockages created from the congealed fats and waste we pour down the sink and flush down the toilet” (BBC News, 2019).
- The New York Times estimated that clearing ‘grease backups’ cost the city $4.65 million in 2013-14. In the span of five years, New York City spent $18 million fighting fatbergs.
- Detroit recently cleared a single 100-foot long fatberg found in an 11-foot diameter pipe at a cost of $100,000.
- In 2017, Baltimore cleared a single 20-foot fatberg at a cost of $60,000.
- Smaller cities aren’t immune; Ft. Wayne, Indiana, has spent half a million dollars a year cleaning grease out of sewers (https://fog-safe.com/blog/fatberg-removal-is-expensive/)
On top of the global cost of removing fatbergs, it is certainly no easy job. According to the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, domestic fatberg removal requires “water jets, a scraper and a vacuum truck to suck out the fatberg and surrounding debris. A bypass line also needs to be constructed to preserve a ‘clean working environment’.”
We often report on the UK fatberg crisis but its important to remember, this is very much a global issue: New York, Denver, Melbourne and Valencia have all found giant fatbergs blocking their waterways. The cost combined would reach billions. The fact that we all have the ability to keep the fatbergs at bay at the source needs more attention or the costs of fatberg removal will continue to rise.
Grease Trap companies, local councils, water companies and authorities continually try to come up with all sorts of campaigns and strategies to try to stop us all putting the wrong things down our sinks and toilets, however, it is evident we are still doing it and while it is relatively easy to calculate the cost of domestic fatberg removal, it is not as easy to calculate the cost of the environmental damage that occurs when sewers overflow. Fatbergs clog sewers and restrict the flow of waste, when a sewer line is too restricted that raw sewage can flow into homes, streets, neighborhoods, rivers, lakes and oceans through manholes and street drains.
The Grease Guardian message? Don’t feed that fatberg!
Before you rinse that pan of grease down the sink, think twice about what you are contributing to—major costs associated with domestic fatberg removal (for both the city you live in as well as yourself) and catastrophic environmental damage.
For more information contact Grease Guardian HERE.