As much as we shout about it, it seems our warnings about fatbergs are not being heard as Thames Water just discovered the biggest ever fatberg under the streets of London.
During a routine inspection in Whitechapel, in London’s east end, the fatberg was discovered. After a more thorough camera inspection it was found that it was gargantuan in size. It is in fact 250 metres in length. This may not sound like much of a number, but to put it in perspective it is longer than tower bridge, which is 240 metres. Or, nearly two and a half football pitches.
As there isn’t a huge amount of damage it is down to a few engineers to shift the fatberg by hand. Quite the task when you realise that the fatberg weighs an estimated 130 tonnes. That’s the same as nineteen elephants, or two reasonable sized aeroplanes.
The engineers will dig it out, before the fat is taken to a local recycling factory in a tanker. Some are seeing this is as a small victory as the fat can be recycled as fuel, but officials still very much encourage the proper disposal of fat and wet wipes. When talking about disposing of the mass, Matt Rimmer, Thames Waters’ head of waste networks said:
‘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.’
He went on to say:
‘We check our sewers routinely but these things can build up really quickly and cause big problems with flooding, as the waste gets blocked. It’s fortunate in this case that we have only had to close off a few parking bays to get to the sewer. Often we have to shut roads entirely, which can cause widespread disruption, especially in London.’
Fatbergs are caused by cooking fat solidifying and causing a blockage in the sewers. These blockages then snowball until they grow into intimidating sizes, and require serious work to shift.
Alternative Drainage provide drain and sewer services to homes and businesses all over Yorkshire. To find out more just call us on 0800 980 1362.