Soap, Fatbergs, And Other Random Junk About Grease In Sewers

Posted on: 4 August 2018

If you own a restaurant, you may funnel through pounds of fatty grease on a daily basis, and while you probably know already that grease has no place in the drain with the regular wastewater, you probably sometimes wonder why it makes much of a difference. Truth be told, the grease slipping down in the drain looks fairly harmless at first; you see it then it's gone, just like dirty water after doing the daily dishes. But the entrance into the drain is only the beginning for the misplaced grease. The nightmares start once that fatty stuff gets down into the sewer system. 

Calcium soap forms when the grease hits the wastewater laced with calcium minerals.

Chemical conglomerates work with the grease that hits the wastewater to create what is chemically and scientifically calcium soap. But this soap is nothing like what you would find hanging out in your shower or on the sink. This soap is just a bunch of solidified fat that has undergone a chemical alteration because of the minerals that hardened and bound it together. Not to mention, this "soap" is full of sewer-related contaminants, which definitely would not be worthy of skin-scrubbing. The problem with this greasy sewer soap is it will continue to bind together in small clumps until it grows bigger and bigger. 

Clumped "soap" transitions into a new monster known as a fatberg. 

When icebergs form in the Arctic, they are a collaboration of small ice crystals binding together until there is a large mass of floating ice. In the sewer, the same process happens with the soap clogs that form as a result of grease interacting with natural chemical compounds. These clogs bind together over time to form large and corruptive problems that are creatively called fatbergs. Fatbergs can cause some pretty insane problems. 

Fatbergs can take out a whole sewer system if left unchecked. 

If you continually pour grease down the drains in your restaurant kitchen, fatbergs will continue to grow and form in your sewer drain lines and down the line in main sewer holding tanks. Stalactite and stalagmite-like formations will grow from the tops and bottoms of sewer components like lines and holding tanks along the way. Not only will these fatbergs block off the flow of wastewater through your drains, they can grow so large that they can cause a sewer line or holding tank to bust open completely. 

If you suspect your sewer lines might be full of fat, call a professional and schedule a sewer cleaning.