Giant 'fatberg' found in Macomb County sewer pipe

A giant fatberg was found in a Macomb County sewer pipe. (Macomb County Public Works Office)

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – This week the Macomb County Public Works Office felt compelled to share some giant "fatberg" news. 

A "fatberg" is what those in the sewer business call a collection of fats, oils and grease -- known as "FOG" -- that collected in the pipe and is mixed with solid items that are flushed down sewer pipes, such as baby wipes, according to the Public Works Office. 

Well, one such fatberg was found this week in an 11-foot diameter sewer pipe known as the Lakeshore Interceptor. This fatberg was 100 feet long, 11 feet wide and as much as 6 feet tall. The Public Works Office said it "is the largest such mass in the memory of sewer workers in Macomb County."

Fatbergs are a problem that the Public Works Office wants resident to help avoid creating. 

“To put it simply, this fatberg is gross. It provides an opportunity, however, to talk with people about the importance of restricting what goes down our sewers. This restriction was caused by people and restaurants pouring grease and similar materials down their drains. We want to change that behavior,” said Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller. 

Miller's office said fatbergs are not just a local problem -- they occur in sewer systems around the world. Last year, a Fatberg in Baltimore caused a blockage that caused more than a million gallons of sewage to spill into a river. Earlier this year, a similar blockage caused 300,000 gallons to back up on the University of Michigan. 

In ridiculously related news, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 is the anniversary of the Whitechapel fatberg discovery. According to the BBC, the Whitechapel fatberg weighed 130 tonnes (286,601 pounds) and stretched more than 250 meters in London's sewers. It is considered the largest of its kind -- at least, it's the largest ever found. 

The mass of congealed fat, wet wipes, nappies, oil and condoms was found in September 2017 in the east London sewers. The BBC reports it took nine weeks to remove the fatberg from blocking the sewer. 

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.