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At Crane Engineering, we see pumps, pipes, and equipment clogged with greasy rags all the time. But Wisconsin has never seen anything like the "Fatbergs" of the UK. Sewer operations in the UK attributes the massive clogs to people flushing wipes down the "loo" and dumping grease into drains.
Hope you're not reading this over your lunch break, because here come the 3 biggest "Fatbergs" we found:
When residents of an apartment building near this mass of food fat and wet wipes couldn't flush their toilets, Thames Water investigated and discovered the "biggest ever 'fatberg'". According to Gordon Hailwood, Waste Contracts Supervisor for Thames Water, "The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tonnes of fat."
Further investigation revealed the fatberg reduced the sewer to just 5% of normal capacity.
Just over a year later, another massive sewer blockage was discovered, this time in West London. High powered water jets were used to break up the mix of trash, wipes, and fat as the fatberg threatened to flood local homes and businesses.
A 10 ton fatberg was found just a few months ago in Chelsea, London. This one was so heavy, the sewer pipe broke. The 40 meter mass cost Thames Water over $628,000 in sewer repairs.
Here in Wisconsin, we don't see collections of grease and rags like this, but they do cost municipalities a lot of money over the year in labor, service calls and overall headaches.
If you feel that you're dealing with mini-fatbergs on a weekly or monthly basis, check out some of the solutions we've helped other municipalities employ:
Dealing with a plugged pumps and lift station grease issues? Ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to municipalities in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.