Over the past few weeks you can’t have escaped the press coverage that has surrounded the now infamous fatberg lurking under Kingston, southwest London. If you have then you’ve most probably been hiding down a sewer yourself! The supposed ‘bus sized’ fatberg could have potentially pushed raw sewage up into homes and onto the streets of Kingston but how has this been allowed to happen?
Weighing in at a reported 15 tonnes this mount of congealed fat, oil and grease mixed with other revolting waste products was brought to the attention of local water authorities after local residents complained about having difficulty flushing their toilets. But how can its weight have been calculated when it hadn’t even been removed. Surely the actual weight of a fatberg cannot be decided properly until the job is complete?
Subject to contrary belief we believe the fatberg is yet to be fully removed and in fact weighs a lot less than 15 tonne. Without the necessary equipment and technical know-how the removal of this particular fatberg will take a lot longer than expected, all the while still causing problems for local residents. Time and investment are an essential requirement when it comes to preparing yourself to undertake such specialist works. Megatron is a textbook example of this.
Megatron was commissioned back in 2008 when Hydro Cleansing invested over half a million pounds engineering this wastewater monster to our own personal spec. From our perspective we had three main objectives we wanted to achieve:
- Increase the capability of a single onsite vehicle, which also reduces our environmental impact and carbon footprint
- Cope with the inevitable migration from planned to reactive works
- Time efficiency, reducing job turnaround times
With Megatron now undertaking works that were previously relinquished, and with more units in the pipeline, Hydro Cleansing are more than capable of embarking on any major works or specialist projects all the while alleviating any concerns that the job is to big or can’t be done at all.
Bag It and Bin It – Don’t Flush It
A water industry-led campaign Bag It & Bin It aims to educate people about what not to flush.
Toilets are only designed to take away human waste and toilet paper. Any other personal waste should be disposed of correctly as household waste.
This protects the environment and the UK’s waterways, avoids harm to marine life and prevents problems in the sewage system, which was not designed with this sort of waste in mind.
Items that shouldn’t be disposed of down the toilet include:
Plasters and bandages
Syringes and needles
Medicines and tablets
Below is a festive themed reminder of the points made above.
10 things you should never flush down your toilet
Remember to avoid flushing any of these items, which have been fished out from under our streets:
1. Food fat
A serious problem, as it tends to bind around wet wipes and other detritus like clay around straw. “It slips down sinks very easily when it’s warm,” says Evans, “but once it hits our sewers it cools down and congeals into what we call fatbergs.”
Difficult to flush, but clearly many people manage it. Evans: “I’ve been down the sewers in central London and seen what appear to be fish on the surface. They’re actually condoms filled with air, bobbing around. It is pretty grim.”
Goldfish are most common, of course, but hamsters and gerbils are also seen. “They don’t help, because they’re quite sturdy little things.”
These are a rarity, because of the sheer difficulty of getting one round the U-bend to begin with, but the blockages they cause can be terrible.
5. Human body parts
These have been found by Thames Water “flushers”, as sewer operatives are known – most often fingers or even hands. In truth, the people sending them down toilets probably have bigger things than sewer abuse to worry about.
6. Cotton buds and tampons
They just won’t break down. It may take months or years for a fatty ball of them to accumulate, but in the end they do block drains, which then have to be unblocked by hand.
7. Half a Mini
Probably a one-off, this. “It was dragged out of one of our major London sewers. Pretty bizarre. Obviously that didn’t get flushed down the toilet.”
8. Paint and building waste
The viscosity of paint causes problems when it joins a fatberg. Bits of rubble are heavy enough to settle in bends, providing a base on which wet wipes and food can collect.
9. Drug paraphernalia
Syringes are the main problem, being very nasty and unhygienic.
A piece of bread won’t do any harm, but bones or even apple cores do cause trouble. Sweetcorn collects in large quantities in the sewers, as yellow as it was in the field.
To see the full story and for the source of this information see The Guardian:http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/shortcuts/2012/oct/26/10-things-you-should-never-flush?CMP=twt_gu