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Macomb County’s Fatberg Comes to Michigan Science Center

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Image credit: Macomb County Public Works

Educational display shows what becomes of what goes down the drain.

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Fatberg at Michigan Science CenterSascha Raiyn
Sascha Raiyn

Fatberg at Michigan Science Center

A chunk of Macomb County’s “Fatberg” is now on display at the Michigan Science Center.

The county’s public works department found the mass after a massive sewer collapse in 2016 prompted it to examine all of its sewers. They found a mass of debris clogging the system – a “Fatberg.”

It was about 19 tons, a hundred feet long, 11 feet wide, six feet high,” says Macomb county Public works Commissioner Candice Miller. “And it was comprised of fats and greases and oils that people sometimes put down their sewer, which they should not put down their drain.”

Miller says another prominent contributor to the Fatberg’s mass were wipes – baby wipes, facial wipes – even wipes labeled “flushable.”

Michigan Science Center President and CEO Christian Greer says the display is meant to show children and their families the consequences of what they do at home.

They can walk right up to it, and they can see all of the objects, the particles that are in this Fatberg, this sort of mass of stuff,” Greer says. “But it sort of represents almost an anthropological perspective on the things we throw away as human beings. And where do they end up going?”

Miller hopes the display teaches people what should and should not be sent through the sewer system. She explains fats and wipes should be thrown in the trash.

There are other efforts in the works to show people the Fatberg and how our habits at home created it. Lawrence Technological University is developing a virtual reality “tour.”

Click on the player above to hear about the Michigan Science Center’s latest exhibit: The Fatberg.


Sascha Raiyn, Education Reporter

Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.

sraiyn@wdet.org Follow @raiyn

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