Fatburgs: the Problem with Wet Wipes

Fatburgs are most often caused by items such as wet wipes and sanitary products that are flushed down the toilet and by left over cooking fats and oils poured down the kitchen sink, not to mention grease from the washing machine. These items stick together and build up over time, blocking pipes and drains.

The First Offender – Wet Wipes

Baby wipes, toilet wipes, wet wipes, make-up wipes, moist wipes, cleaning wipes: whatever the application, wipes are wipes. Wipes will flush – in that they will disappear down the U-bend of your toilet. The problem is what happens to them next……..

In the UK alone, water companies spend approximately £88 million of their customer’s money clearing roughly 360,000 blockages that occur annually in the sewerage network. It is estimated that up to 80% of these blockages are avoidable and are caused by the incorrect disposal of wet wipes and other hygiene products via the toilet.

So – are wet wipes flushable, or not – even when they say they are?

The short sharp answer is: NO. The longer answer is: DEFINITELY NOT.

Wet wipes blocking a drain

Despite what the manufacturers say, even when a wet-wipe package claims its contents are flushable, biodegradable or compostable – they won’t and don’t degrade quickly enough to avoid being a menace down our drains and in our waterways – and they are now becoming a major issue for Falcon’s drains and toilets!

The Second Offender – Grease, Fats and Oils!

It’s a common misconception that pouring grease, fats and oils down the drain is okay if you run hot water and poar dish soap after it. In reality, they should never go down the drain. Even if it’s hot and easy to pour out of the pan, it will eventually cool and solidify somewhere in your plumbing. This causes a gummy, goopy mess to form along the the pipe walls, trapping other debris that flows down the drain. Over time, the resulting clogs could bring your drains to a standstill.

Wet wipes blocking a drain

Even if the grease makes it past your home’s plumbing system, it continues to wreak havoc in the main drain system. Some water companies spend millions of pounds a year addressing damaged drain systems and clearing out masses of solid waste. By never pouring grease down the drain, you can help prevent clogs and other plumbing problems further down the line.

A convenient, mess-free way to dispose of cooking grease, fats and oils is to pour it into an empty jar, can or other container. Then screw the lid onto the jar, or wait for it to cool in the can before throwing it in the rubbish.

You can also wait for the grease to solidify in the pan and then wipe it out with paper towels, which you should then throw away in a bin.

As a result, if you report a blocked toilet or drain and we find the cause of the blockage is that wet wipes, grease/fat or similar products have been disposed of down your toilet, you will be charged for the call out and any work necessary to clear the blockage. This may be in excess of £200.00.

We would therefore strongly advise you to ensure all members of your household and visitors are aware of the problems caused by the inappropriate disposal of these items and…