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‘This fatberg is gross.’ Huge mass in bowels of Detroit sewer is a ‘teachable moment’

This Sept. 6, 2018, photo provided by the Macomb County Public Works Office shows a large fatberg in a sewer line in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Macomb County Public Works Office says workers cleared the 11-foot-diameter pipe that was partially clogged by the collection of oils, grease, fat and solid items such as baby wipes.
This Sept. 6, 2018, photo provided by the Macomb County Public Works Office shows a large fatberg in a sewer line in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Macomb County Public Works Office says workers cleared the 11-foot-diameter pipe that was partially clogged by the collection of oils, grease, fat and solid items such as baby wipes. Associated Press

Another fatberg has been unearthed in the bowels of a major American city — this time, Detroit.

The congealed clump of grease, fat and other stuff people shouldn’t toss down the drain — including baby wipes — was “said to be about 100-feet long, 11-feet wide and 6-feet tall,” according to MLive.com.

“To put it simply, this fatberg is gross,” Candice Miller, Macomb County public works commissioner, said in a press release, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Officials said in the release the fatberg “is the largest such mass in the memory of sewer workers” in Macomb County — 27 cities and townships that are part of the Detroit metro area, according to the county’s website.

The Detroit News reported the fatberg has been removed.

Miller and her fellow public works officials plan to use the discovery as a teachable moment about what homeowners and businesses shouldn’t flush into the underworld.

According to the Free Press, pieces of the sewer monster will be displayed Thursday at the city’s Clintondale Pump Station along with photos and videos.

Miller will speak at a press conference where the public works commission is expected to announce a “major educational outreach partnership with a local institution,” according to MLive.com.

“It provides an opportunity ... to talk with people about the importance of restricting what goes down our sewers,” Miller said in her statement, according to MLive.com. “This restriction was caused by people and restaurants pouring grease and similar materials down their drains. We want to change that behavior.”

Last year, a similar blob of nastiness was discovered lurking in Baltimore’s sewer system under Penn Station. The blockage caused an overflow in September that sent more than 1 million gallons of sewage gushing into the Jones Falls stream, the Baltimore Sun reported.

In public works parlance, the ingredients of a fatberg are known as FOG — fats, oils and grease.

“When the substances go down a pipe, they congeal, harden and often attach to other items that don’t break down in the sewer, such as wet wipes,” the Sun wrote.

Workers in Maryland scraped that congealed mass out of a 100-year-old sewer main, and the crud was sent to the landfill, the Sun reported.

Crews in London last year needed jet hoses to extricate the monster of all fatbergs from that city’s sewer system.

The monstrous, 820-foot-long congealed mass of fat, grease, oil, diapers, sanitary napkins and wet wipes weighed as much as 11 double-decker buses and blocked a sizable section of the city’s old sewer system, London’s The Guardian reported.

It was so notable that pieces of it wound up on display at the Museum of London.
The museum last month launched a 24/7 live stream of one chunk so people can keep track of its deterioration. It has “hatched flies, sweated and changed colour,” the museum wrote on its website.

The live stream is called FatCam.

London’s fatberg turned one year old on Wednesday. The museum wished it happy birthday on Twitter.

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