Tuesday 21 November 2017

Try not to freak out at this giant fatberg found in a London sewer

Put down your dinner before proceeding.

Whitechapel fatberg
Whitechapel fatberg

By Isabel Togoh

A 250 metre “monster” mass of fat, wet wipes, nappies and oil is being removed from a Victorian sewer in east London.

Weighing in at an eye-watering 130 tonnes, or 11 double-decker buses, Thames Water engineers will work for three weeks to scrape out the solid fatberg which has been described as one of the largest ever seen in the capital.

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The concrete-like blockage stretches across a sewer the length of more than four Wembley football pitches, and is lodged three-and-a-half metres below ground.

But a dedicated team of eight engineers have started the painstaking extraction process in Whitechapel Road, and aim to remove up to 30 tonnes per shift using “high-powered jet hoses” and tankers.

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“This fatberg is up there with the biggest we’ve ever seen. It’s a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove as it’s set hard,” said Matt Rimmer, head of waste networks at Thames Water.

“It’s basically like trying to break up concrete.

“It’s frustrating as these situations are totally avoidable and caused by fat, oil and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo.”

The mess will eventually be disposed of at a recycling site in Stratford, east London.

Understandably, some Twitter users just Could. Not. Even.

While others had different theories about the monstrosity.

The utility company launched a “bin it, don’t block it” campaign on Monday to encourage households to properly dispose of items which contribute to blockages such as nappies, wet wipes and condoms.

The firm, which serves London and the Thames Valley, says it spends around £1 million each month to clear blocked sewers.

The discovery dwarfs the “bus-sized” fatberg uncovered in Kingston in 2013 which tipped the scales at 15 tonnes.

Press Association

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