fatberg update

No Award, we are so pleased to be able to bring you a fatberg update. Not actually an Australian fatberg update! Sadly. But a global fatberg update.

fatberg potential
fatberg potential

 Wet Wipes Box Says Flush. New York’s Sewer System Says Don’t. It was with GREAT DELIGHT that No Award read this article in the NYT yesterday morning. Just because it’s specific to the New York sewer system, don’t disregard it, though! Quartz has some extra deets about the impact of wet wipes. Steph, for example, didn’t realise that the culprits aren’t parents flushing baby wipes, but adults wiping their own arses! (No Award recommends Who Gives A Crap tp, A Lolstralian company producing 100% post-consumer waste paper TP)

Quokkas, don’t put your wet wipes into sewers and drains and water ways. “Flushable” doesn’t mean “decomposes” or “biodegradable” or anything like that. It just literally means that it won’t clog up sewers.

Local councils can help! (Apparently, by using biodiesel. I guess)

Previously on No Award, The Fatberg of Melbourne and things you shouldn’t put down the loo.

Today on No Award, DON’T PUT THESE LIQUIDS IN YOUR DRAIN, PUT THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE. Note that they are ALL OF THEM considered ‘household hazardous wastes’ in Australia.

  • Paint (including water soluble!)
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Coolants
  • Cleaning products
  • Any medications at all, I know they’re not always liquids but DON’T DO IT
  • Glues
  • Pool chlorine, I can’t believe we’re having this conversation, I don’t care if it usually goes in water and then we swim in it

HOW TO GET RID OF THEM: plug them into Recycling Near You. Your local council may also have ways to get rid of them (The Shops at Ellenbrook, for example, has a ‘Green Room’ provided by the City of Swan where you can drop stuff off, though not actually HHW stuff).

A FURTHER NOTE ON MEDICATIONS: you can also take them to a lot of pharmacists and they get rid of them responsibly through the RUM project.

AN UPDATE ON PAINT: when you’re washing your brushes out, remove as much of the paint via rags as you can, then wash the residual off into a jar or container and then tip that out into the compost. It’s about as much as you can do. SOZ.

the fatberg of melbourne

In early September, Fatberg Fever gripped Melbourne, after the announcement of a Fatberg discovered by Yarra Valley Water in February.

Fatbergs are a serious problem, and one about which Stephanie, as an environmental professional, is qualified to speak.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FATBERGS and your drain system:

  • A fatberg is caused when fat, grease and oils smush together and block pipes. It’s kind of like fat in your arteries, but it’s the arteries of your city!
  • The problem is compounded by increased waste generation in urban centre.
  • Improper waste disposal is a sin! (And also a crime)
  • Things that you can’t put down the toilet or the sink: wet wipes; tissues; pads and tampons; condoms; oil; nappies WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, plastics, paint.
  • Things that you shouldn’t put down the sink: food scraps.
  • Fatbergs could possibly be a source of biofuels, but do not try to create one in order to find out.
  • The biggest fatberg ever found was under London, the size of a 747.

Stormwater drains go straight into the sea/river/ocean/bay. There are not consistently filter systems. Drains are different, but not that much different, as demonstrated by Fatberg.

My favourite quote ever is this one, from David Snadden of Yarra Valley Water:

“We all know where number ones and number twos should go, but there is no such thing as a number three, so please do not put anything else down the drain.”


If you want to see some pictures, check them out here – I won’t gross out NA readers by subjecting you without warning.

Our love of Fatbergs is so strong, music happened:



“Fatberging across the universe, on the starship Fatberg, under captain weaves!”

In conjunction with some friends and a need to avoid work, here is an ode to the Fatberg, written by noted Fatberg Zoe:

In sleep it blurbs to me
In dreams it came
That berg which calls to me and blurbed my name
And do I dream again for now I find
The fatberg of the city is there
Inside the drain

Blurble once again with me
Our strange duet
My power over you grows stronger yet
And though you turn from me to glance behind
The fatberg of the city is there
Inside the drain.

Those who have seen your fat
Draw back in fear
I am the fat you wear
It’s me they hear…

Your/My foodscraps and my/your fat in one combined
The fatberg of the city is there/here
Inside my/your drain

It’s there, the fatberg of the city!
Beware, the fatberg of the city!
It’s there, the fatberg of the city!
Beware the fatberg of the city!

In all your fantasies, you always knew
that blob and blurbleness
Were both in you
And in this drainage pipe
where fat is blind
the fatberg of the city is there
inside the drain

it’s there, the fatberg of the city

squiiiiiiidge, my fatberg of sewerage
squiiiiiidge, my fatberg
squiiiiiiidge for me

squiiiiiidge, my fatberg!
squiiiiiiidge for me!

Good day, No Award. Please watch what you throw down the sink, toilet, and stormwater drains. Your city thanks you.