Utility donates fatberg to museum

A fatberg – a blockage that plagues sewers – is on display in a museum in Melbourne, Victoria.

Yarra Valley Water has donated a sample of a fatberg discovered during its suite of inspection and cleaning operations to ensure that its infrastructure remains blockage free.

The sample – which is a combination of wet wipes, rags, fats and oils that combine after entering the sewer network – is on display at Melbourne Museum’s ‘Gut Feelings’ exhibition as part of the utility’s initiative to prevent people from flushing wipes down the toilet.

Its estimated fatbergs cost Yarra Valley Water up to AU$1 million per year, with up to 14 t retrieved on average per week.

The Water Services Association of Australia estimates these blockages are costing the urban water industry in Australia more than AU$15 million each year.

They can also cause highly expensive plumbing problems for households, with some reporting plumbing bills of up to AU$1,000.

“A lot of wet wipes are marketed as ‘flushable’ but this is very misleading because they don’t decompose,” said Yarra Valley Water Managing Director Pat McCafferty.

“It would actually take about six months for a wet wipe to decompose naturally.

“We work really hard to retrieve wet wipes from the sewer but we do still sometimes get a build-up of them which can cause sewer blockages, inconveniences to customers and harm to the environment.

“When combined with the fats and oils that people pour down the drain, the fatberg is born.”

For more information visit the Yarra Valley Water website.

If you have news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Chloe Jenkins at cjenkins@gs-press.com.au

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