Fatberg's removal from Macomb sewer cost $100K

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller speaks at news conference  on Thursday about a fatberg found inside a local sewer pipeline.  A fatberg is a collection of fats, oils and grease that collect in a pipe and are mixed with solid items that are flushed down sewer pipes, such as baby wipes.

A giant blob of solid waste, or fatberg, has been removed from a Macomb County sewer line, officials said.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said the mass is the county's largest in the memory of her department's workers.

The 100-foot-long glob was found in an 11-foot diameter pipe called the Lakeshore Interceptor. The pipe is located about 50 feet below ground and runs from 15 Mile north to 21 Mile between Gratiot Avenue and Interstate 94. It serves Clinton, Harrison, Chesterfield and Lenox townships as well as the village of New Haven.

Chunks of a fatberg -- a giant blob of solid waste -- found inside a local sewer pipeline were on display during a news conference on Thursday.

Officials said the fatberg was 11-foot wide and as tall as six feet in some places and consisted of fats, oils and grease that collected in the pipe and mixed with solids flushed into the sewer, such as baby wipes. They also said it weighed about 19 tons.

Workers removed the blob by breaking it up with hand saws and shovels, according to the public works office. It was sucked up with a vacuum truck. The solids are being disposed of in a landfill and the liquids are being returned to the sewer system, officials said.

Removing the fatberg cost about $100,000, they also said.

"We want to use this as a teachable moment if we can to get folks to change their behavior towards what they're putting down in the sewer," Miller said during a news conference Thursday held at a Clinton Township pumping station near where the fatberg was found. "There's an enormous cost (to removing fatbergs) and we're all paying for it. We don't want to continue to do it."


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez