FatBerg, Right Ahead!

FatBerg, Right Ahead!

Have you ever wondered why they tell you “don’t pour cooking grease down the kitchen sink?” Or maybe “don’t flush paper towels down the toilet?” Well for the citizens of the Whitechapel district in London, they received those answers in titanic fashion. Whitechapel gained notoriety in the late 1880s as the location of the Jack the Ripper murders, but in 2017 a different menace was terrorizing the community, this time beneath the streets.

Lurking in the depths of the 47” by 27” sewer line was what experts had dubbed a “fatberg” that solidified and completely halted sewage flow through the pipe. A fatberg is a mass of fat, oils, greases, sanitary products, and contraceptives so large that it has to be compared to an iceberg. This particular behemoth of a blockage weighed in at a whopping 130 tonnes and measured 250 meters. For those of you not on the metric system, that is equal to 286,600 pounds and 820 feet. To put that in perspective this fatberg weighed the same as 10 fire trucks or 19 adult elephants. It weighed nearly as much as an adult blue whale, the largest mammal on Earth. And that 820-foot length? That’s over 2 (American) football fields long!

This congealed mass of waste products wasn’t exactly easy to remove either. When fats, oils, and greases cool down they solidify around all the other waste products in the sewer until they become nearly as hard as concrete. Removal of the Whitechapel fatberg took nine weeks as crews had to remove the blockage chunk by chunk and suck it through a hose. Instead of just disposing of it in a landfill, the fatberg was sent to a biofuel facility to turn it into usable energy. A representative of this biofuel facility estimated that the fatberg could have yielded up to 10,000 liters of fuel and some has already been used to power London buses. 1 liter of biofuel can replace 1 liter of diesel fuel, and that results in the savings of over 3 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

A London museum will be displaying parts of this fatberg as a learning tool and reminder of the calamity that can be caused by these disposal errors.

The Toll on our Roads

The Toll on our Roads

Come winter, most people prep for the cold by donning warmer clothing and bundling up as the temperature continues to drop. In the event of snow, it’s time to bring out the plows and drop enormous amounts of salt in an attempt to prevent ice from forming. The winter season can be as rough on paved surfaces as it is on people, with drivers adapting to dodging large quantities of potholes appearing on roadways and pedestrians minding where the sidewalk is beginning to lift and crack. Unfortunately, this will continue to be a problem, especially in the northern states, due to the constant freeze and thaw cycle of water trapped in and under paved surfaces.

A factor that exasperates this condition is the application of road salt when the temperature is far beneath the freezing point. Rock salt used on roadways is only effective until 20 degrees. Also, even at this lower temperature, the weather is still warmer during the day and colder at night, causing the ice to continually expand and contract within the paving materials leading to further fractures and breaks. Regardless of these facts and the alternative products available, rock salt is the least expensive form of de-icer and most readily available for making paved surfaces safe during the winter months.

Additionally, plows and other vehicles can unknowingly contribute to the continued damage of paved surfaces already compromised by freezing and thawing. A small divet in a road can quickly become a large pothole with enough vehicles traveling across the damaged portion of pavement. Most plow blades are set at a level that avoids scraping directly along the road surface when clearing to prevent extra wear and tear. This precaution can sometimes be futile due to previously level roads becoming uneven and lifting during the winter months. The edges of plow blades then scrape the surface regardless.

Unfortunately, even if we switch to alternative methods of de-icing roads, there will ultimately still be moisture that will freeze and thaw as long as cold weather persists, damaging vehicles and roadways the longer the weather sticks around. To help mitigate this, different asphalt mixtures are used in areas with colder weather to help improve the durability and longevity of roadways and alternative de-icing agents are implemented that will work in weather in which traditional road salt would become ineffective.

Tattersall by NV Homes

Tattersall by NV Homes

NV Homes is finally open for sales at their newest community, “Tattersall”. NV Homes (a division of Ryan Homes) has done it again and has begun construction on their latest community. Following the success of their last community, “Rustin Walk”, located in Westtown Twp., this 27-lot development will be sold out in no time. If you’re planning on a home purchase this year, and want to be in a great location and get the best value, you will want to put this community on your radar.

Tattersall was originally a 166-lot development located on 450+ acres of some of the most beautiful landscapes Chester County has to offer. Rolling hills, valleys, streams, meadows, woods and plenty of open space surround this community. This final phase, located adjacent to the clubhouse, is bordered by 1st, 4th and 5th hole fairways of the Broad Run Golf Course (formerly known as Tattersall Golf Course). This community offers countryside living but is only a ten-minute drive from West Chester and 15 minutes from Exton and/or Kennett Square.

NV Homes will be offering a half dozen or so of their most popular models which will start around the $590K price range. The elegance and amenities found in these luxuriously crafted homes are worth bragging about. The Tattersall communities really are the cream of the crop when it comes to affordable luxury in Chester County. NV’s product line complements the already existing residences and landscapes perfectly. To contact the Tattersall sales team, call (484) 849-0090, or click on this link Tattersall to visit their website.

New Year, New Outlook

New Year, New Outlook

Happy New Year! This is a time when we should all resolve to do something different or better during the year ahead. So what resolutions will have the greatest impact in terms of improving the value of your work or making your life easier?

Here are five suggestions that may help:

1. Say “No” more often – The hardest part of any job is saying “No” to requests. But if we don’t, our capacity gets eaten up with endless projects – many of which may be of questionable value. The inevitable result is that there is less time for important projects – and almost always it’s the thinking time that adds the most value. So learn to say “No” more often – tactfully of course.

2. Plan your communications early – Don’t wait until the end of a project to think through who you need to communicate with or the best way to do this. Think in advance who will need a summary; who will need the full details; and who will respond better to a phone call

rather than an email. Think about what will make them act. Do it ‘up front’ – because not only will you be more likely to do it, but it may also actually change the way in which you run the project. Communication should never be an afterthought!

3. Make time to think – The key to insight is to ask the right questions. But that involves thinking, and thinking requires time – without any disturbances. Even five minutes’ peace and quiet can produce superb value. So consciously make time to think rather than just churning out data.

4. Review last year’s projects – We know that insight should generate value for the organization. But how often are findings lost or recommendations ignored? And why? Could we have expressed things more effectively to produce a better result? One way to find out is to go back over some key projects from the last 18 months and discover what happened. This may be hard but is invaluable.

5. Share insight across the team – Do your team meetings just go through current projects and problems? Do you ever formally take some time to actually share what each of you has learned from your work? Given that insight so often demands context from other areas, how can you really deliver it if you aren’t aware of the key lessons from your colleagues’ work? So make time – and it must be specifically for sharing – and not for discussing current problems.

Implementing one, or all of these strategies will improve insight and value, in turn producing a more functional process, with a final product all will be satisfied with. Good luck and enjoy what lies ahead in 2018.