Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fat Bergs

Fatty deposits: Pipe or artery? 
Ever wondered what happens to the chip fat which is lovingly dispatched down the sink? Hope you remember to apply copious amounts of hot water so it doesn’t congeal into a mass causing blockage and backup. Thus the oils and fat flow clean away, out of sight and mind…….

When the fat hits the cold, foul, sewer water, it coalesces. It associates with other globules of fat, inappropriately discarded tampons and other unmentionable substances.  All this forms a cold, slimy, glutinous alliance and matrix. And then it starts to grow. In this way, it mimics the deposition of fatty plaques in the cardiac arteries of the genetically unlucky. And the eventual result is the same. The bore diminishes until occlusion occurs; then the system infarcts.  For the unfortunate human, the outcome is a heart attack. In the sewer, fetid water and excrement, seep or rush to the surface depending on back pressure. Like coronary heart disease the fatty build-up in sewers can take generations to cause catastrophe.

Recently a 15 ton ‘fat berg’ (for it is they), about the size of a school bus, was discovered in the London sewer system. It took more than a month to dissipate the berg and free the blockage.
But fear not gentle readers, the fat/excrement will not be put to waste (ged it?). London council intends to burn it in one massive conflagration to power a turbine. It is estimated that 130 gigawatt- hours will be produced, enough energy to supply power for 40,000 London homes.  
If diligent sewerage workers hadn’t detected the blob, then eventually the streets of London would have been awash with raw sewage. The smell and the chaos would have been unimaginable- but would anyone have noticed? Arse, big smelly, arse……

Fat Bird

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