Saturday 24 February 2018

Massive sewer rat emerges from 130-tonne 'fatberg' of wet wipes, nappies and condoms in east London

Worker stumbled across the rodent amid the project to break down the solid mass of waste in the Victorian tunnel underneath Whitechapel

Jeff Farrell

A worker battling to clear a 130-tonne fatberg in a sewer stumbled upon a rat scurrying over the solid mass of waste made up of trash including nappies, oil and condoms, a video showed.

A Thames Water engineer spotted the rodent with his torch as he waded through filthy water in the Victorian tunnel beneath Whitechapel in east London.

He is one of an eight-man crew in the project to remove the 250-metre long hardened garbage - which could cause flooding in the area if not tackled.

The fatberg weighs the same as 11 double-decker buses and is thought to be one of the biggest ever found in Britain – up to 10 times larger than a previous one discovered two years ago.

The footage taken by the worker shows him wading through sludge while walking towards a chunk of the solid mass of waste lodged between two sides of the sewer.

Seconds later a rat emerges from behind the fatberg before scurrying off to safety as the worker tries to follow the creature with the beam from his torch.

Thames Water published the short video clip on its Twitter page and captioned it: “Our version of a walking tour of London: see for yourself the monster #Fatberg everyone's talking about.”

An engineer revealed the task at hand to remove the solid mass of waste which was the length of two Wembley Stadium football pitches when the project started on Monday.

Workers are breaking down the massive chunk of hardened rubbish with high-powered hoses at a rate of 20 tonnes per day.

Standing at the scene in an area cordoned off at the site, a worker said: “We’re here down in Whitechapel in London removing the biggest fatberg we’ve seen so far in our sewers.

“We’ve already moved 40 tonnes and this is the latest block of fatberg that’s just been pulled fresh out of the sewer. Only another 90 tonnes to go.”

The Thames Water tweet was hashtagged: #BinItDontBlockIt. It is part of its campaign to get households to dump their rubbish for waste collections rather than down the drain.

The company's head of waste networks, Matt Rimmer, gave details on the mass excavation of the London sewer, in the project which was initially expected to take three weeks.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Independent News Service

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