A fatberg donated by Yarra Valley Water will go on show at Melbourne Museum to highlight what happens when wet wipes combine with fat in the sewer system.
Yarra Valley Water Managing Director Pat McCafferty said fatbergs cost the company $1 million each year largely as a result of the 650 tonnes of wet wipes and rags that customers flush down the toilet.
During an average week Yarra Valley Water retrieves almost 14 tonnes of wet wipes and rags from the sewer system.
Mr McCafferty said while Yarra Valley Water work hard to retrieve wet wipes build-ups still occur, creating blockages that inconvenience customers and harm the environment.
“A lot of wet wipes are marketed as ‘flushable’ but this is very misleading because they don’t decompose. It would actually take about six months for a wet wipe to decompose naturally.
“When combined with the fats and oils that people pour down the drain, the fatberg is born,” Mr McCafferty said.
The Water Services Association of Australia estimates blockages involving wet wipes cost the urban water industry in Australia over $15 million each year.
The fatberg is a 10 per cent sample of the mass it was taken from and is on display as part of Melbourne Museums Gut Feeling exhibition.