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British Invasion: Could London's 'Fatberg' Lurk in Austin Sewers?

Austin Water

Cooking grease may be an afterthought for some, but as London discovered this week, grease can become a costly, time consuming problem. The city was forced to remove 15,000 tons of gunky, fatty buildup from its sewage pipelines, a so-called "Fatberg" the size of a double-decker bus.

It looks like Austin may have steered clear of the Fatberg, however: Austin has a smaller sewer system and diligent monitoring. But it’s easy to see how quickly grease buildups can transform themselves into a major cost: a 12 month summary of sanitary sewer overflows reveals that six incidents in April cost Austin Water $25,500.

Austin Water spokesperson Jill Mayfield says there's no such thing as a grease impervious pipeline.

“Everybody can be susceptible to oil and grease buildup,” Mayfield says. “Austin Water does a really good job of inspecting sewer lines with fiber optic cameras throughout the year.”

For tips on how Austin can avoid its own Fatberg, watch the following video:

Roy is a second year journalism professional track graduate student at the University of Texas.
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