Read the full story from the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center.
Fatbergs consist of clumps of fats, oils and grease (FOG) lately joined by the addition of “disposable” wipes. They can also include facial tissue, paper towels, tampons, sanitary towels, condoms, and other wastes flushed into the sanitary sewer system. As this collection of matter grows, it goes through the chemical reaction process of saponification. Saponification breaks down FOG into fatty acid salts (soap) and glycerol. Further reaction results in calcification, transforming the blockage into something more akin to concrete than lard.