Sewer Fatbergs (Giant Fat & Refuse Clogs)

paulsamfreya

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Please let this be a myth!!
A friend confidently assures me that the sewage pipes below our major cities regularly become coated with fat waste, from thousands of us daily pouring oil, animal fat etc down our kitchen sinks. So far, so gross, but it gets worse...

He reckons teams of workmen are employed to scrape this congealed fat from the walls of the sewers. It is then, he claims, processed, recycled and introduced back into the food chain as an ingredient in margarines etc!!!

Has anyone else heard this as a "fact" or is he just a very sick man?!?
:eek: :cross eye :eek!!!!:
 

MrSnowman

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Sounds more like a lard-fetishist.

In seriousness, there probably is tons and tons of greasy, putrid lard stuck to the walls of sewers, as obviously, it's not soluble in water. However, the idea of men employed to clean it out is a bit strange as :-

1. The products needed to shift the offending lipids would break them down on a molecular level, rendering them unrecyclable.

2. The job would be on too large a scale. Think of the people who constantly paint that big bridge on the Firth of Forth or Fifth Froth, whatever. It'd take a zillion times longer than that, and they NEVER get the job finished!!

However, the idea of cooking with recycled fat complete with rat seasoning is rather yummy...
 

gyrtrash

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How many H&S laws would that violate?!

It must be the musings of a sick man! :p


... anyway, the alligators eat all the fat... :)
 
A

Anonymous

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IIRC the fat waste element is true, but the reintroduction into the food chain sounds like UL style bollocks. Still, forward it to everyone you know!!!
 

marion

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I have heard that lanolin (sheep wool grease) that is an ingredient in some cosmetics and ointments (and probably other things) is harvested from the sewers under wool mills where the grease is washed out of the fleeces.
 

stonedog3

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ordinary drains Marion? :) rather then sewers.... why go to all the effort to put it in the sewers...

anyway, lanolin are small singing birds rather like nightingales. Any Fule Kno That! or is that ortolans. Or something else entirely....

why spend time scraping it out of sewers (or drains) when you can pick it up for free from the liposuction places:rolleyes:

Kath
 

gyrtrash

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stonedoggy said:
anyway, lanolin are small singing birds rather like nightingales. Any Fule Kno That! or is that ortolans. Or something else entirely....


Kath

Linnets?! :D

I'll have a wee dram of what you've got! :D ;)
 

stonedog3

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or martlets...which have no feet for some reason.

It's bunnahabain...er bunahaben er..... bloody good anyway!

Kath
 

PeniG

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stonedoggy said:
or martlets...which have no feet for some reason.

Kath

Martletts have no feet because they're the heraldic term for swallows, which in medieval belief must not have any feet because they never landed on the ground. Presumably not having any power lines for the swallows to rest on (as they do here, apparently as a courtesy to us birdwatchers who want to know whether we've got cliff or cave swallows) gave rise to this misconception.

Lanolin is the oil from wool.

And I strongly recommend reusing, composting, or pouring your old fats into a can and disposing of them in your regular garbage, or you'll quickly find out that no one is going to come scrape out your outlet pipe when it backs up and blurps hideously at you.

A friend of mine used to keep lye by his sink, so he could turn the grease on his dishes into soap on the spot...
 

Anome

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Yes, fat runoff from domestic (and commercial/industrial) uses is a major environmental problem.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would harvest it for reuse. Definitely it's a UL.
 

escargot

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Years ago I read in the Guardian that it was possible to create s new kind of fat for cooking which would resemble normal fats in every way but would be indigestible and so pass straight through the body. This would eventually block drains and sewers and wreak havoc with the environment. T he idea was to help peeps lose weight effortlessly.

I was so fascinated that I cut out the article and carrried it around to show to peeps but nobody else thought it interesting!
 

Onix_Martinez

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Ladies and gentlemen, my wife's family has been doing industrial cleaning for years and, yes, they have to clean decayed grease from the gutters and sewers of restaurants, shopping malls and the all present McDonalds. Mind you, all the grease is trapped into "grease traps" (duh!) and most of it doesnt even get into the main sewerage system. The cleaning involves disolvents, detergent and a lot of elbow grease (no pun intended). The grease, a really smelly foul thing, is disposed afterwards by specialists. I have no idea what they do with it, but I am betting it could be reprocessed into some sort of lubricant for industrial purposses. And, no, there are no alligators in the sewers here in México City. The mutant rats ate them all already.
 

Anome

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escargot said:
Years ago I read in the Guardian that it was possible to create s new kind of fat for cooking which would resemble normal fats in every way but would be indigestible and so pass straight through the body. This would eventually block drains and sewers and wreak havoc with the environment. T he idea was to help peeps lose weight effortlessly.

I was so fascinated that I cut out the article and carrried it around to show to peeps but nobody else thought it interesting!
Ahhh, Olestra!

The environmental impact was the least of its problems.

The main problem with it, and many "left-handed" sugars, is that, as it isn't broken down in the body it goes straight through the gut to the colon where it is exactly as it was when you ate it.

Oily.

In your colon.

Do the words "rectal leakage" mean anything to you?
 
A

Anonymous

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one of the local dole offices threats is "cleaning tanks in the docks" this intails going into the usualy 4ft high waste water tanks in big ships and scrapeing the poo off as it solifies into thick dark mud..... but the worst job is the "white water tanks" these are the tanks that hold sink waist water and no poo at all.. the grease and soap formes into big lumps and staligtights and when chopped into releases and incredible nausiateing smell..... often the guys doing this are only protected by a detol soaked face mask as the standard equipment is too bulky to get in the tank with... in the dark, 20 ft below the waterline, not able to stand up, poison gas... its prity grim and Health and safety seems to be an unknown concept to them.
 

escargot

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Yup, olestra, I couldn't remember the name!
And there certainly was a problem with 'leakage' which I imagine remains unsolved if it still isn't on sale.

Sounds like a great laugh..............;)
 

liveinabin

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your washing machine is full of fat too. All the fat that gathers on shirt collars and cuffs is melted and washed into the bottom of the machine where it sits. Because most peopel do not do a boil wash it does not melt enough to was out of the machine entirely.
 

Anome

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Actually, you ooze fat out of your skin in many places.

It's all those "essential oils" the moisturiser people talk about in their ads.

Without it, your skin gets all dry and flaky.
 

marion

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Peni said:
Martletts have no feet because they're the heraldic term for swallows, which in medieval belief must not have any feet because they never landed on the ground. Presumably not having any power lines for the swallows to rest on (as they do here, apparently as a courtesy to us birdwatchers who want to know whether we've got cliff or cave swallows) gave rise to this misconception.

Its swifts that don't have proper feet, they aren't related to swallows or martens , in fact they are closer kin to nightjars, the goatsuckers.Swifts can't settle on wires or perch, only cling to rock faces or the sides of buildings, their feet are reduced but not absent and have a very strong grip.
 

Bullseye

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Untill a week ago I worked for a water company (on the clean water side), but I knew a few of the"sewerside wallahs", and yes there are fat balls thet get trapped in the meshes of sewers and its a right bugger to get rid of them and no they don't end up in the food chain, sorry to disapoint.
 

Bullseye

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And aparently there are some spirits (drink types) that have some stuff (too late at night now to look up) that can also cause anal leakage ,glad I drink beer or wine:D ,I'm sure those that drink this stuff know:cross eye , but feel they won't mention it?.
 

eyepod

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I was told once that all the fat that oozes from donner kebabs and gathers in that tray at the bottom gets taken away and recycled somehow into wax for candles.

Having dripped kebab fat onto a pair of shoes once, and found the next day that it had solidified into what looked exactly like a candle spill I can well believe it.

Don't know for definite if it's true tho.
 

PeniG

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SilburyMoon said:
I was told once that all the fat that oozes from donner kebabs

Donner kebabs?!? What the H-E-Double toothpicks is in Donner kebabs!?

These would never sell in the U.S.

No, wait, actually, I can imagine some venues near Donner Pass taking it up as a trash-touristy gross-out venture to capitalize on the tragic history of the Donner Party; probably using pork or chicken parts.

I really, really love being a vegetarian.

Candles used to be made out of meat fats, specifically tallow, but since they are a decorative/ritual item these days manufacturers are more likely to use beeswax or synthetics. What do they make that wax out of that sublimates instead of melting into a puddle on the candle holder?

Oleustra wasn't a problem for everyone in every product. I used to be able to eat SnackWells fat-free chocolate cupcakes, but not Hostess. Many people were bothered by Lay's Wow chips but I wasn't. And I don't know anybody who had problems with Taste Sensations Triple Chocolate Wafer Bars, but then they were so good it probably wouldn't have made any difference if they had. Gee I miss those. Now they've all vanished from the market, though you can still get SnackWells cookies with a slightly different recipe. Another get-thin-quick scheme bites the dust - when will we learn?
 
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escargot said:
Yup, olestra, I couldn't remember the name!
And there certainly was a problem with 'leakage' which I imagine remains unsolved if it still isn't on sale.

Sounds like a great laugh..............;)

They were going to try and market it under the name Lucerne (pronounced 'Loosern') since its main side effect was anal seepage, I found it most amusing...
 

eyepod

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/yourlondon/unitedcolours/turkish/culture.shtml

The large meaty slab that Ali is taking his knife to is what I was referring to - the actual donner kebab is made when thin strips of the meat* are cut off and packed into a pitta with salad and chilli sauce and/or lemon juice.


*it's lamb, allegedly, minced up with spices and formed back into that huge lump, which rotates on a skewer in front of a gas flamey thing for weeks on end, slowly dripping fat into the catching thingy beneath, until it's all been sliced away. Then it's replaced with another huge meaty lump thing. Does anyone know the name for that, btw?
 

Spookdaddy

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Peni said:
Another get-thin-quick scheme bites the dust - when will we learn?

Maybe the old Donner Party business was an early foray into organised weight loss gone tragically wrong. Nowadays we have the Atkins diet whereas way back then they had to make do with the "eat kin" diet.

Okay...I'll get me coat.

(It should be pointed out to the ignorant that the "Donner Pass" was the scene of a tragic incident in 19th century US history and does not refer to the potentially explosive motions experienced the morning after eating a donner kebab with just a little bit too much chilli sauce on it).
 

PeniG

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SilburyMoon said:
[the actual donner kebab is made when thin strips of the meat* are cut off and packed into a pitta with salad and chilli sauce and/or lemon juice.


*it's lamb, allegedly,

Okay, so around here we'd call it a gyro and it would be Greek; though gyros generally have a creamy cucumber sauce. We don't call it a kebab unless it still has the skewer in it when served. This seems to be the same general idea as the fajita, which is beef scraps fried up and served with vegetables (usually onions and peppers) fried in the same grease and flour or soft corn tortillas - you wrap the beef and vegetables in the tortilla and ladle on sour cream according to taste.

Should this be a culinary thread?
 
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