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Fatbergs have been in the news again lately with a 64-metre growth having been discovered just after Christmas in the sewers serving Sidmouth in Devon. My links with the bathroom manufacturing industry have led to some interesting debates about the various causes of these disgusting blockages and as well as the obvious culprits, such as careless householders and businesses emptying fats, oils and food debris into the sink and flushing wet wipes down the toilet, questions have been asked about the design of sinks, toilets and flushing systems as well as everyone's drive to create products which use less water, which means that often, less of what we're attempting to flush away, is dealt with efficiently.
Clearly we need to continue to cut the volume of water we use wherever possible and I'm surprised that I see so little of systems which use greywater. Basins that empty into the toilet cistern, which I used to see a decade ago and thought were a wonderful idea, don't seem to have caught on as I expected them to. Likewise I can recall writing with enthusiasm about a shower that used filtered, recycled water but have never learnt of any that have actually been installed and I wonder whether the likely cost of acquiring and fitting such new technology, has deterred us from pursuing this solution to conserving our precious water supplies.
I also wonder whether we're doing enough to educate people about taking care with the disposal of fats and oils, and warning that even if the wet wipe box says the wipes can be flushed, it's more sensible not to do so? Are people being made sufficiently aware of the benefits of fat traps to keep their pipework free flowing?
If you've never seen a fatberg in situ, here's a link to a short video. Does it make you want to take action and do whatever you can to prevent their formation? I'd love to know: www.sidmouthherald.co.uk
Finally, the Domestic Cleaning Alliance's Stephen Munton wrote in response to last week's leader: "I used to get sent to clean an office periodically that was never cleaned from one month to the next between my visits. I loathed going there and the toilets were something else. They made the washroom from Cagney & Lacey look like something from House & Garden. I have no idea how the staff could work there."
Who said cleaning was an easy job to do?
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24th January 2019