Fatbergs Are Taking Over Aussie Sewers, But What Are They?

This unspeakable, abominable union is lurking in our sewers.

Like the iceberg that had the Titanic’s name on it, a hidden nasty could be lurking in the darkness of your kitchen drain -- the dreaded FATBERG.

A fatberg is an abomination --  an unspeakable union of cooking oils and fats that eventually meet up with other things that shouldn’t be in the sewer, like wet wipes.

And 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,” according to Michelle Cull from Queensland Urban Utilities.

“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,” she says.

In South East Queensland alone, authorities spend $1.5 million per year clearing more than 4000 blockages from the network, with fat a big contributing factor.

A survey found one in four people wash cooking oils down the kitchen sink.

“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," Ms Cull says.

“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.”