• Community Services
  • Engineering / Technical
  • Executive
  • Financial / Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Legal
  • Information Technology
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Secretarial / Office Admin
  • Temporary / Contract
  • Other
  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Big floaters in Cairns city sewage prompts Council rap

    A Cairns Councillor has turned rapper to draw attention to a smelly problem clogging the city’s sewerage system, which is far worse than the average floater.

    Fatbergs are congealed lumps of fats, oils and non-flushable items such as wet wipes and cotton buds.


    Cr Brett Olds has adopted the persona of DJ Phatberg to educate people on what they can and can’t flush down the toilet.

    Cairns Regional Council spends more than $750,000 a year removing blockages from the city’s sewer systems, most of which are preventable.

    “It’s a very serious subject, but we came up with a light-hearted way to address it, which residents and especially children, are more likely to remember,” Cr Olds said.

    “Basically, if it’s not toilet paper, pee or poo, it shouldn’t go down there.”

    “One of the biggest issues is the increasing number of these flushable wipes clogging up the system as they take far longer to break down than toilet paper."

    Fatbergs have been in the spotlight in recent years after giant ones were uncovered in England.

    A 250-metre, 130-tonne monstrosity was discovered in London in 2017 and this year a 64-metre giant was found in the seaside town of Sidmouth.

    While Cairns Water and Waste workers haven’t come across a fatberg quite so intimidating, they want to avoid any prospect of one forming.

    “More than half of these blockages are a direct result of fats, oils and grease, while the remainder can be directly attributed to items that should never be flushed down the toilet,” Cr Olds said.

    “Things like cotton buds, tissues, tampons, condoms and nappies end up there and they have the potential to cause havoc.

    “Next time you’re on the throne, take a second to Think Before You Flush.”

    Cr Olds is also flush with pride, with his son Tristan playing the beats on the drums for the music video and siblings Jackson, Aidan and Jessica providing additional backing vocals.

    Stranger Things
    Here are some of the more unusual items found in the city’s sewers:
    Bed linen: An entire set of bed sheets was found by Council employees at one pump station.
    False teeth and eye glasses: Probably lost by people being sick in the toilet. 
    Money: Particularly since the introduction of plastic notes, Council officers have found up to $100 in cash.
    Drink glasses: Likely from nightclubs and pubs - smaller glasses that can fit through the bend.