The Rise of Massive Fatbergs in City Sewers

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Cooking grease disposal myths debunked.

Massive fatbergs found in city sewers are on the rise. Fatbergs have made headlines in both the United States (Michigan and New Jersey) as well as in Scotland and the UK in recent weeks.

What is a fatberg?

“Fatbergs are large lumps of fatty gunk in the sewer system which can set as hard as concrete. They are caused by fat, oil and grease (FOG) being disposed of incorrectly down sinks and drains, and then accumulating over time. They may combine with other items which should not have been flushed away, such as wet wipes and sanitary products.” (ITV Report)

The Rise of Massive Fatbergs

Improper FOG (fats, oils and grease) disposal is a major issue in our modern cities and industrialized world. People are eating out more than they have in previous generations, and food preferences now include a wide variety of fried foods. It is safe to say that fried food isn’t going anywhere—and neither is the fat, oil and grease it uses and produces. While this change in eating behavior isn’t the problem, the byproduct, FOG waste, is where the problem lies. A majority of people don’t understand the harm caused by rinsing a pan of grease down the kitchen sink.

When FOG waste makes its way into our home’s plumbing, city sewer lines and water treatment facilities it causes major problems. FOG waste floats down your drain as a liquid, but quickly solidifies in your pipes and city sewer lines, causing buildup and restricting the flow of sewage. Thus, causing a massive fatberg to form. When pipes become completely clogged, this sewage is no longer able to drain properly and spills out into your home and comes up through street drains and manholes. When raw sewage flows into the environment, the delicate ecosystem is damaged and our drinking water becomes contaminated.

Fact: FOG waste (fats, oils and grease) is the number one cause of blocked sewers, causing 47 percent of all stoppages (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Preventing a Sewer Backup into Your Home

Most homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by a sewer backup into your home. That means you are solely responsible for cleaning and repairing the damaged caused, which can easily reach thousands of dollars. The best way to prevent a sewer backup is to responsibly dispose of items down your kitchen sink and toilet. Here are a few tips to keep your pipes clog-free:

  • Never pour fats, oils or grease down your kitchen sink drain. Fats and grease start as a liquid when poured down your drain, but quickly harden and become a solid in your pipes. The hardened grease builds up inside your pipes and collects other food scraps, which in turn leads to a clogged pipe.
  • Don’t solely rely on your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals are great, but you need to use them intelligently. Don’t put large quantities of anything down the garbage disposal and scrape plates into the trash before rinsing them in the sink.
  • Follow the 3P’s rule for your toilet. Only flush (toilet) paper, pee and poo. Everything else should be disposed of in the trash, including those “flushable” wipes.
Responsibly Dispose of FOG Waste with the Grease Hero

The Grease Hero is designed to be placed into the top of your kitchen drain, so you can quickly and easily pour the used cooking fat, oil or grease (FOG) into it, and then promptly dispose of the entire drain guard, instead of rinsing these harmful contaminants down the kitchen sink. Our Grease Hero drain guard is made with recyclable materials to absorb the FOG waste and can be thrown out with your regular garbage.

As cities continue to grow and infrastructure continues to age, it is more important than ever to pay close attention to what you are rinsing down the kitchen sink and flushing down your toilet so that you aren’t contributing to the global rise of massive fatbergs.


Join Our Mission to save the environment and properly dispose of Fats, Oils, and Grease.

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