Baltimore DPW After 'Fatberg' Problems: Only Flush Poo, Pee and Toilet Paper
BALTIMORE (AP) — A "fatberg" that may have taken beyond half a century to grow below Baltimore has been removed.
The city's Public Works department used a camera, pressure washer and truck-mounted industrial vacuum to clear the mass of curdled grease, wet wipes and other waste. Workers resorted to the strategy Monday after they'd begun scraping pieces off last month.
The notorious glob was found clogging up to 85 percent of a 24-inch pipe near Penn Station and the 1700 block of Charles Street, which includes the Charles Theater. It's blamed for causing more than 1 million gallons of sewage to overflow into the Jones Fall stream on Sept. 21. It's the culmination of objects caked along a pipe's walls that shouldn't go down drains.
"We can't treat our toilets like our trash cans," said Pat Boyle an administrator with the Department of Public Works.
Baltimore is not the only city to experience the problem in recent months.
In London, a 130 metric ton mass of oil, fat, diapers and baby wipes that was 250 meters long clogged one of the city's Victorian sewers. Crews there worked to dislodge it on in mid-September and said it could takes weeks to completely remove the blob.
Baltimore's Department of Public Works offers the following tips to keep the sewers clear:
- Do not put fats, oils or grease down the drain.
- During food preparation and cleanup, pour unused grease from the “pan to the can.” Once it solidifies in an empty can, put it in the trash.
- Do not flush “flushable” wipes; put them in the trash instead. Wet wipes don’t break down in water and create sewer blockages.
- The only items that should be considered flushable are poo, pee, and toilet paper.