Monday, September 8th, 2014
A 15 tonne fatberg was discovered under the streets of the London borough of Kingston-upon-Thames last month after residents in the area had complained about their toilets not flushing. The huge blockage has taken 3 weeks to remove, and is thought to be one of the largest fatbergs in London’s history.
What is a Fatberg?
A fatberg refers to a huge lump of congealed fat, wet wipes, sanitary items and other non-biodegradable items that are found in the sewer systems after having been flushed down the drains of London homes.
This now infamous fatberg has been reported to have blocked a massive 95% of a 2.4 diameter brick sewer pipe. It was eventually removed 3 weeks later by a team of drainage professionals who had to work in a toxic and foul-smelling environment to remove the monstrous fatty blockage.
Water and sewerage companies have express their increasing concern about how often fatbergs are being discovered in London’s sewers. London is full to the brim of food businesses, which use one of the highest amounts of oil in the country, thought to reach up to 44 million litres per year. Most of the fat is being carelessly disposed of and being poured down London drains and, when added to the high percentage of people flushing wet wipes and sanitary items, the problem is only going to get bigger.
Remember Bin it – Don’t Block it
It is important to remember to avoid pouring fat down the drain and not to flush non-biodegradable items down the toilet. Information on the packaging will always state whether the item can be flushed down the loo or not. This does not only prevent the community from encountering sewerage problems, but can stop you from having to pay out a lot of money for a plumber for your own drains.
Luckily, this grotesque blockage was discovered just in time. If it was found any later, the homes of Kingston-upon-Thames would have been filled with an unbearable stench, with raw sewerage spilling out of the manholes in the streets. Thames Water have started a campaign to end ‘sewer abuse’ called ‘Bin it – Don’t Block it’ and intend to supply homes across London and the South-East with free ‘Fat Traps’.