‘Fatbergs’ growing in NJ sewers could blow through toilets, sinks
Homeowners in the Garden State are being warned about a stinky, putrid problem that sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie.
The blob is known as a “fatberg" and it's made headlines after clogging sewers in London and in Michigan.
We’re now learning some Jersey residents have been slimed by the filth that can shoot up from a toilet or even out of a bathroom sink without warning, causing a disgusting mess in their house.
Paul Giglio, the owner of Pipe Works Home Services in Chatham, said the blog is a buildup of products and substances that people over time flush down the toilet or wash down the drain.
A fatberg can be a combination of feminine products, dental floss, baby wipes and other garbage that mixes with cooking fat or grease and human waste.
Giglio compared it to a snowball rolling down the hill.
“It starts off really small and it rolls down the hill and gets really big at the end," he said.
When that happens, he said the congealed fatberg will get stuck, causing a blockage in the sewer line. That will back up the flow of water and it wind up going up and out of the closest toilet that’s connected to the line.
“It’s basically a geyser that happens in a basement and it’s just such a horrible effect. I mean it just destroys everything it touches, whatever it touches, you just have to throw it away,” he said.
He noted a fatberg will almost always happen in a main municipal sewer line. It doesn’t damage the pipe but “it pours out of a toilet, a sink, a washing machine, stand pipe."
Giglio said the best way to avoid experiencing a fatberg is to make sure you never throw things in the toilet you’re not supposed to, including disposable wipes.
He stressed fatbergs are very rare. But having a fatberg in your house is like the opposite of winning the Pick 6.
“You never know when it’s going to happen, but if it does it just makes your life horrible. Unless you have special riders on your insurance policy, this kind of stuff is not covered.”
Across the pond, meanwhile, the Museum of London put a piece of one of their fatbergs on display, and even gave it a livestream — the "FatCam."
"Since going off display, fatberg has started to grow an unusual and toxic mould, in the form of visible yellow pustules. Our collections care team has identified this as aspergillus," the museum said on the fatberg's webpage.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com