Web Banner Tairawhiti

'Fatberg' prompts plea for 3Ps

3 Jul 2020

'Fatberg' prompts plea for 3Ps

A half-tonne ‘fatberg’ is proving a bane for workers who have been attacking it with picks, shovels and high pressure hoses this afternoon, and prompted Council to remind residents to be mindful of what they flush.

The Kaiti sewer network overloaded after rain on Tuesday, forcing Council to open the emergency sewer valve at the Gladstone Road Bridge. The rain was minimal and would not normally have caused an overflow.

“The flows stayed high until we closed the valve on Wednesday afternoon,” said Phillip Dodds, senior wastewater operations engineer at Council.

“We realised there must be a blockage in the network, probably somewhere near Rutene and Wainui roads.” 

It was a process of deduction, as the Kaiti network consists of 75km of sewer mains east of the Gladstone Road Bridge, serving around a third of Gisborne. With a camera down the pipes, they pinpointed the fatberg causing the grief in a sewer main near the Mobil Service Station on Hirini Street.

The ‘berg is 15 metres long, may be 500kg, and has filled the top half of a 475mm diameter pipe.

Contractors started cutting it out using a mixture of brute force and high pressure water jetting.

High evening sewer flows around 4pm put an end to the work for the day.

“This fatberg consists of lots of solid fat, rags, wet wipes and condoms, all the things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet or kitchen sink,” said Phillip Dodds, senior wastewater operations engineer.

“The rags and wet wipes particularly are making it difficult to remove. Sinks are not rubbish bins and please only flush the 3 Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper. Wet wipes should go in the rubbish bin, not the toilet.”

For more information on DrainWise and how you can help stop fatbergs causing overflows into the rivers, go to our Drainwise page.

Video of the fatberg

Camera down the pipe show the fatberg along the top of the pipe, reducing the size and capacity of the sewer main.