Tags: london | fatberg | sewer | damage | flush | fat | clump

London 'Fatberg' — Massive Lump of Waste — Breaks 1940s Sewer System

By    |   Thursday, 23 April 2015 08:24 AM

A 10-ton "fatberg" more than 130 feet long broke a 1940s-era sewer in west London this week and had to be removed.

The so-called fatberg, formed when wet wipes stick to congealed fat from household waste, caused about $600,000 in damage to the Chelsea sewer pipes, The Guardian reported. Stephen Hunt, the Thames Water repair and maintenance supervisor, told the newspaper that the size of the lump was "staggering."

"We see blockages all the time on household sewer pipes, which are about big enough for a cricket ball to pass through, but to have this much damage on a sewer almost a meter in diameter is mind-boggling," Hunt told The Guardian.

"The original sewer has been so badly abused by fat being chucked down the plughole we've had to opt for the time-consuming and disruptive option of replacing many meters of pipe," he continued.

A spokesperson for the Thames Water told The Independent that the clumps are occurring increasingly because more and more people are flushing things down toilets and sinks that should not be, including cooking fats, oils, and wet wipes.

"Wet wipes are particularly nasty when people flush them down the toilets, not just in Chelsea but all across region," the spokesman said. "When all these things come together in our sewers, wet wipes stick to fat and anything that is flushed down toilets that shouldn't be, like nappies and sanitary items."

The Thames Water rep said that "blockage hotspots" include Ealing, Hounslow, and Harrow, but also said blockages happen across the United Kingdom.

"I'd urge people to consider what lurks beneath their feet — and when it comes to getting rid of fat — 'bin it, don’t block it,'" the spokesman said.

The Washington Post reported that similar grease backups cost New York City an estimated $4.65 million to clear out in 2013.

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A 10-ton "fatberg" more than 130 feet long broke a 1940s-era sewer in west London this week and had to be removed.
london, fatberg, sewer, damage, flush, fat, clump
Thursday, 23 April 2015 08:24 AM
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