Baltimore City Department of Public Works blamed flushable wipes for the blockage
A 20-foot "fatberg" of congealed grease, flushable wipes and other unsavory stuff was removed Monday from a sewer pipe in Baltimore.
The massive clog in a two-foot-wide pipe under Lanvale Street between Charles and Maryland streets was detected after recent sewage overflows.
Removing it was no easy task, said Jeffrey Raymond, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Department of Public Works. The job, estimated to have cost as much as $60,000, demanded water jets, a scraper and a vacuum truck to suck out the fatberg and surrounding debris. A bypass line also had to be constructed to preserve a "clean working environment," Raymond said.
"Think about a can of lard - and multiply it," he said.
Officials lay blame for the blockage on a culprit familiar to civil engineers: flushable wipes. One-hundred-year-old sewer systems built in an age of "nonexistent environmentalism," Raymond said, are not equipped to handle wipes sometimes marketed as disposable that some say are anything but.
"Turns out Baltimore has its own fatberg in its sewer systems - a congealed lump of fat, along with wet wipes and other items that do not break down in sewer systems," the Department of Public Works explained on YouTube, where a ghostly video of the fatberg was posted. "Safeguard Baltimore's sewer system by canning the grease and trashing the wipes."
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