Sewer blockage on Grand Parade, Cork City caused by ‘fatberg’

17 June 2020
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

Irish Water and Cork City Council responded to an emergency overflow from the public wastewater network at Grand Parade last week. On investigation, the emergency overflow was found to have been caused by a blockage in the sewer network, otherwise known as a ‘fatberg’. When fats, oils and grease (FOGs) are hot and in liquid form, they pour easily down the kitchen sink. However, when they cool they form solid masses, commonly referred to as fatbergs, which can cause serious pipe blockages and sewer flooding, resulting in property damage and harm to the environment. The fatberg was subsequently removed using a jet vacuum.

Definition: A fatberg is a congealed mass in a sewer system formed by the combination of flushed non-biodegradable solid matter, such as wet wipes, and congealed grease or cooking fat. Fatbergs became a problem in the 2010s in Ireland, because of ageing Victorian sewers and the rise in usage of disposable (so-called “flushable”) cloths.

There have been other operational issues caused by fatbergs in sewers in this area in recent times. Preventative measures are already underway, including a programme of sewer jetting and cleaning on Grand Parade and Washington Street. It is hoped that jetting will clear the sewer network of fatbergs and alleviate the problem. The sewer jetting and cleaning programme will continue until the end of August.
We wish to apologise for this occurrence and assure the public that we are working to improve the operation of the sewer network in the area at this time. We would appeal to businesses and the wider community in Cork City to assist our operational teams in their work and ‘Think Before You Pour’ (TBYP) fats, oils and greases into the drains of homes and businesses.

A ‘Think Before You Pour’ campaign operated by An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme is run in partnership with Irish Water. For those interested in finding out more, there is additional information on our the Irish Water website at https://www.water.ie/wastewater/issues/think-before-you-pour-cam/

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