What Lurks Below

Last month, London sewage workers discovered an enormous greaseball blocking the pipes in the Whitechapel neighborhood, creating a nasty situation and limiting water flow. The ball, weighing 130 tons, took 3 weeks for workers to break down using high-pressure water jets. It was made of a combination of hardened grease and fat from food production as well as wet wipes, diapers, and other non-flushables that had been flushed down the toilet. Experts say that if the ball had not been caught when it was, waste could have started to burst from manholes and flow through the streets of London. Watch the London Fatberg in action here.

It’s not just London that’s in danger of having its sewage system ruined by improper waste disposal; many towns and cities may have greaseballs lurking beneath them, too! So how can we make sure our pipes are functional and our streets stay feces-free? There are many things we can do in our kitchens and restaurants to dispose of cooking grease, fats, and oils the right way and keep our pipes flowing smoothly, especially as the holidays approach!

  1. Make sure to let the grease cool before either pouring it in the trash or into a storage container.
  2. Once you’ve poured out the grease properly, make sure to wipe out your pots and pans with a paper towel to remove any grease that might be stuck to your cookware. Be sure to do the same with plates!
  3. Check if your municipality has a grease recycling program like Durham, which accepts and recycles cooking oil free of charge.
  4. As for toilets, remember that only toilet paper should be flushed. Most wet wipes are not meant to go through our pipes and sanitary napkins and tampons should never be flushed either. We are fortunate that our sewage treatments systems are top-notch, but that doesn’t mean we should overload them. When in doubt, throw it out!

 

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