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    Thames Water field operation manager Natalie Stearn holds a piece of the Fatberg in an 1852-built sewer at Westminster in London, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017

    Fora, Fatberg! Wet Wipes 'Fine to Flush' Labels Aim to Fight Fatberg Menace

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    UK officials are stepping up efforts to stop rogue fatbergs from clogging city infrastructure by launching a campaign against wet wipes, a major source of sewer blockages.

    Manufacturers will start using "fine to flush" symbols on product labelling for wet wipes passing strict guidelines. Swindon-based technical experts of Water Research Centre (WRc)will aid companies in testing the ‘flushability' of their products.  

    "This is an important step in the battle against blockages," Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts said. "We've all seen the impact of fatbergs, and we want to see fewer of them."

    "Improving the environment is at the core of what the water industry does, and the new ‘fine to flush' standard that we've created will make it easier for consumers to buy an environmentally friendly product instead of one which clogs up drains and sewers," Mr. Roberts added.

    Fatbergs — a menagerie of fats, oils, human waste, grease, used condoms and others — have become a subterranean menace across the world, especially as urban sprawl and inner-city populations increase.

    A shocking 250-metre fatberg in Whitechapel was discovered in London in 2017, weighing 130 tonnes. A remaining chunk of the cesspit was commissioned to the London Museum last February.

    Sidmouth, Devon residents were shocked to find a 64-metre fatberg this week lurking beneath city streets. The fatberg, more than twice the height of the iconic Tower of London, will take roughly eight weeks to remove from sewers, South West Water workers claim. 

    A Water UK study revealed the dangers of wet wipes, which showed "unflushable" wet wipes accounted for roughly 93 percent of fatberg blockages as the products do not break down quickly, prompting the water industry to crack down on the odious threat to UK infrastructure.

    "In 2018, during our annual Great British Beach Clean and survey, we found on average 12 wet wipes per 100 metres of beach cleaned — an increase of more than 300% over the past decade," Laura Foster, Marine Conservation Society head of clean seas said. "We want a simple system where a product is either clearly labelled as ‘do not flush' or has passed the ‘fine to flush' standard."

     

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    Tags:
    wet wipes, fatberg, sewer, water pollution, infrastructure, campaign, pollution, crackdown, Marine Conservation Society, Water UK, British Environment Agency, United Kingdom
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