25 July, 2018 14:09
Winter fats roast dinner on a plate

You won’t find any icebergs in a Brisbane winter, but there’s another berg causing titanic problems – the fatberg.

Fatbergs form when cooking oils and fats tipped down the drain meet up with other nasties that shouldn’t be in the sewer, like wet wipes.

Queensland Urban Utilities spokesperson, Sally Prosser, said winter is fatberg season.

“Hot cooking fats go down the sink as a liquid, but when they enter the sewer they cool and solidify into a smelly mass,” she said.

“The pipes are colder in winter, so this solidification process happens faster and can cause blockages in your household plumbing as well as our system.

“We spend $1.5 million a year clearing more than 4000 blockages from our network, and fat is a big contributing factor.”

A Queensland Urban Utilities survey* found one in four people washed cooking oils down the kitchen sink.

It also found 50 per cent of people tip leftover sauces and dips down the plughole, while almost 15 per cent wash food scraps down the sink.

“During the colder months, people are enjoying more hearty meals, which tend to be higher in fat, such as roasts, soups and casseroles,” Ms Prosser said.

“There are simple ways you can prevent your winter warmers turning into foul fatbergs, such as scraping leftovers into the bin instead of the sink.

“You could also wipe the grease from pans with a paper towel or pour cooking oils into a container and throw it in the bin.

“The message is simple - ‘think at the sink’ - and avoid a titanic plumbing problem.”

Fatty Figures

  • 4000 blockages a year
  • $1.5 million spent clearing blockages
  • 1 in 4 people pour cooking oils down the sink
  • 50% wash leftover sauces and/or dips down the sink
  • 14% of people scrape food scraps into the sink

About Urban Utilities
Established on July 1, 2010, Urban Utilities is one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia, providing water and sewerage services to more than 1.5 million residents in South East Queensland. Our 14,384km2 geographic area is made up of the five local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset.