Workers flush out record ‘fatberg’

Published 3:28pm 17 August 2022

Workers flush out record ‘fatberg’
Words by Jodie Powell

Unitywater staff got more than they bargained for as they worked to remove a massive, messy blockage from a sewage pump station at Brendale.

It took all night for them to remove the largest fatberg ever found in the Unitywater sewerage network.

Weighing more than a tonne, the smelly, congealed mass is a result of people flushing wet wipes and other items that don’t belong in the sewer.

Unitywater executive manager Rhett Duncan says “it was an overnight job” to clear the mass.

“It took most of the night by the time our crews lifted the pump and dug the rags and fatberg off by hand and got it operating again,” he says.

“It’s not a nice job and doesn’t smell very pleasant, but somebody has to do it and we have the right crew for the job.

“We’d love to be using the crews to do maintenance work elsewhere on our network.”

Fatbergs form when grease, oil and fats are poured down the sink and meet up with non-biodegradable material. The result is a solid mass that grows as more debris is trapped.

Three Ps the key

Rhett says it’s easy to prevent fatbergs and other blockages by ensuring anything other than pee, poo and paper is put in the bin.

“We ask people to only flush the Three Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper,” he says.

“The same goes for the kitchen sink – fats and oils belong in the bin as these can clog private plumbing as well as wreaking havoc on the sewerage network.

“If people are flushing things that don’t belong in the sewer, it can block private plumbing and that can certainly lead to expensive personal plumbing bills.”

Workers flush out record ‘fatberg’

While the fatberg’s a record for Unitywater, it’s a drop in the ocean compared with monster masses found in the UK.

In 2017 a 127-tonne blockage was found in London’s East End, while in 2019 it took workers eight weeks to clear a 64m-long fatberg containing bones, twigs and false teeth from a sewer in South West England.

More local news

Moreton Bay Little League Baseball  stars on parade in Williamsport

Moreton Bay’s young baseball legends have wowed the crowds at the Little League World Series Grand Slam parade ahead of their first game against Canada. See them in action...

‘Karens’ to take over Petrie Hotel for sassy dining fundraiser next month

Don’t expect any friendly pleasantries from the waiters and bar staff at the Petrie Hotel next month, with staff set to unleash their inner ‘Karen’ for one night only. The Petrie Hotel is using this unique dining experience as a way to raise much-needed funds to help sick and injured animals. Find out more here

Magpie swooping season in Moreton Bay Region

Magpie season is in full swoop and while Brisbane City Council has made changes to the way it handles aggressive birds, there won’t be changes in the Moreton Bay Region. We chat to an expert about how to live with the birds and find out how to report incidents

Share

Related Stories

Popular Stories

$1m raised for at-risk youth
News / Local

$1m raised for at-risk youth

Thirty-six Brisbane business leaders have officially raised more than $1 million for charity organisation TRACTION, to help support at-risk youth. Here's the story

Keanu, 6, ready to take on world
News / Local

Keanu, 6, ready to take on world

Six-year-old Keanu Samson, from Mango Hill, will soon pack his bags and fly 15,000km for the ‘Super Bowl’ of children’s golf. ** FREE TO READ **

Highway hope for battling residents
News / Local

Highway hope for battling residents

Work has started on possible new routes for Stage 4 of the Bruce Highway Western Alternative (BHWA) after a huge community backlash to original plans. ** FREE TO READ **