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How food fat down the drain costs NPDC ratepayers money

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Two fatbergs in a week have highlighted the problems pouring your cooking fat down the kitchen sink can cause on NPDC’s wastewater networks.

Last week a ball of fat the size of a large schoolbag made a surprise appearance at the New Plymouth Wastewater Treatment plant. A couple of days later, a fatberg blocked a pipe in Marfell, causing a sewage overflow at Oawai Street.

Fatbergs form in pipes when fat from cooked meat is washed down kitchen sinks, cools, and builds up in the pipes. Along the way it collects random items also flushed into the wastewater system, such as clothes pegs, wet-wipes and tampons.

“The last thing we want is sewage overflows as they contaminate the soil and streams, and you might not be able to swim or collect kai for a while. It also costs money to remove the blockage and clean up the site,” says NPDC Three Waters Manager Mark Hall.

“We look after 631km of wastewater pipes serving nearly 26,000 properties so it’s better to prevent fat build-ups in the first place.”

Some easy steps you can take to help prevent these fatbergs forming are:

  • Before washing plates and roasting pans, scrape any cooking fat onto newspaper and pop it in your food scraps bin.
  • Flush only the 3 Ps: pee, poo and paper. Other items – such as wet-wipes, tampons, nappies and rags – go in the red landfill bin.

On top of emergency responses such as wastewater overflows, NPDC is spending $248 million during the next 10 Years to Fix the Plumbing on our ageing Three Waters networks.


Plunket collaboration

Meanwhile, NPDC and Plunket Community Services have joined forces to help out new parents.

Every new parent that Plunket’s Community Services sees will receive 3Ps information from NPDC along with a reusable wet-wipe – just wipe, wash, and reuse!

We expect that around 600 new parents in the coming 12 months will receive a reusable wet-wipe from NPDC and Plunket.