Experts: To Prevent Sewer ‘Fatbergs,’ Don’t Put Fat, Cooking Oil, Wet Wipes In Pipes

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — What goes down the drain doesn’t always go away.

Sometimes it grows into a repulsive mess.

Alex DeMetrick reports on the “fatbergs” that are growing under Baltimore’s streets.

RELATED: ‘Fatberg’ Causes Sewer Overflow In Baltimore

At Lanvale and Charles Street, there’s a nice stretch of city. But below, there’s something not so nice at all.

“This is a big conglomeration of fats, oils and grease which we call fog, and it gets in there and just as it sticks to dishes and pans when you cook, it also sticks to the inside of our sewer pipes,” says Department of Public Works spokesman Jeff Raymond.

0925fatberg Experts: To Prevent Sewer Fatbergs, Dont Put Fat, Cooking Oil, Wet Wipes In Pipes

Courtesy: Baltimore Public Works

This photo shows the fog build-up, and how it blocks the flow of sewage.

“In the course of trying to clean this one out we ended up with, unfortunately, a significant overflow,” says Raymond. That overflow was about 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage.

Spilling directly into the Jones Falls, and from there into the Inner Harbor.

Baltimore’s not unique in this regard.

A fatberg weighing 130 tons and stretching 1,000 feet was recently found underneath London.

The remedy, experts say, is for residents not to pour fats, oil or grease down the drain. Pour it in tin cans, and then throw those cans into the trash. And don’t flush sanitary wipes and other items besides toilet paper, either.

‘Because when they’re in the sewer systems they’re going to snag on something and they’re going to create bigger blockages,” Raymond says.

CBS News reports that wipes, diapers and condoms helped the fatberg in London grow to its immense size.

As they’re found, fatbergs are removed by scraping and vacuuming, and are disposed of in a landfill.

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