When it comes to toilets, there are a few golden and unspoken rules that citizens must abide by. In late February, a crane pulled a disturbing reminder out from under the sewers of Australia that remind us of one of the most important rules of all: do not flush wet wipes down the toilet.
Indeed, Hunter Water Co. used a crane to pull out a 1,653 pound “fatberg.”
For those who aren’t familiar with what fatbergs are, picture a dark, twisted and snakelike sewage monster, consisting of millions of wet wipes that were carelessly discarded down the toilet. By definition, it is a congealed lump of fat, sanitary items, wet wipes, and other items in the sewer system that are not able to decompose like toilet paper does. Instead, these items accumulate and form a greasy, murky sewer monster, causing problematic clogs in sewage systems.
While wet wipes wreak havoc in sewage systems worldwide, this particular fatberg was pulled from the sewage system in the Australian suburb of Eleevana in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales. The fatberg measured to a terrifying 22.9 feet and weighed in at 1,693 pounds. The remaining 661.387 pounds of fatberg were lost by the crane, which had likely required a secure crane pad for stability, and had to be removed by hand instead.
If there’s anything to be learned by this recent incident, it’s that wet wipes do not belong in the toilet — even ones that claim to be flushable.
“The wet wipes are being advertised as basically an extra way to freshen yourself up after the bathroom,” said Nick Kaiser of Hunter Water in an interview with ABC News. “The whole flushable wet wipe issue is actually a global issue.”