Thursday 14 September 2017
International media coverage of a 250-metre long, 130-tonne ‘fatberg’ blocking a London sewer pipe should be a wake up call for Hamilton residents says Hamilton City Council Waters Manager Maire Porter.
“Hamilton faces exactly the same issues which have led to this situation in London, which is why we have been promoting our Bin It, Don’t Flush It campaign,” Mrs Porter says.
The term ‘fatberg’ describes an accumulation of congealed fats and oils which bind with other problem items in the wastewater system like wet wipes, sanitary pads, nappies and condoms and then create a solid mass. This mass can block the pipe system causing overflows and damage to pumping equipment. In some cases large chunks of a blockage crashing into the city’s treatment plant screens can seriously damage the plant.
Engineers in London this week have a team of workers trying to break up and remove the massive fatberg tonne by tonne.
“People putting the wrong things into our wastewater system costs many tens of thousands of dollars every year in repairs, additional maintenance and disposal costs,” Mrs Porter says.
“These are costs paid by the ratepayer which could be avoided by simply putting these items in the bin. Wet wipes don’t break down in our wastewater system and clog up our pumps, while fats and oils poured into the system congeal and bind all the other items together.
“Our wastewater treatment plant staff find all sorts of oddball things in our waste system, including toys, credit cards, golf balls, clothing, false teeth and more, but it’s the wet wipes, fats and oils that really cause us problems.
“Bin it, don’t flush it, and don’t feed the fatberg!” Mrs Porter says.