21 July, 2020 10:00
Michelle Cull with a roast ham
With winter well and truly upon us, Urban Utilities is warning it’s peak season for fatbergs and is urging its customers to think at the sink.

Fatbergs form when fats and cooking oils poured down the drain combine with other nasties that shouldn’t be in the sewer like wet wipes, causing costly blockages.

Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michell Cull, said almost 400 fat blockages were cleared from its 9,000km sewer network in South East Queensland between June 2019 and July this year.

“Fatbergs can happen at any time of the year, but we do tend to see an increase during winter,” she said.

“In the colder weather, cooking oils cool and solidify a lot faster when they’re poured down the sink, increasing the likelihood of a fat blockage forming.

“Fatbergs are a big fat problem not just for our network but also your household pipes, as they can land you with an unexpected plumbing bill.”

Urban Utilities spends over a million dollars clearing blockages from sewer pipes each year.

While grease traps at commercial properties prevent around 16,800 tonnes of fat from entering the network every year, it’s unknown how much fat residents are tipping down their sinks.

Ms Cull said there were some simple ways for people to prevent their winter warmers turning into foul fatbergs.

“Next time you’re cleaning up after a roast dinner or fried meal, please remember not to tip the fat down the sink,” she said.

“We recommend you wipe the grease from your baking dishes and pans with a paper towel and throw it into the bin.

“The message is simple – please don’t feed the fatberg this winter.”

About Queensland Urban Utilities
Established on July 1, 2010, Queensland Urban Utilities is one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia, providing water and sewerage services to more than 1.4 million residents across Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset local authority areas. We are upgrading and improving the reliability of our infrastructure by investing $2.76 billion in a 10-year capital works program. Our service territory covers 14,384 square kilometres and we employ around 1,100 people.