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Sewer clog

Think your arteries are clogged? 15-ton glob of rotting fat clogs London sewer

Friday, August 09, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: sewer clog, rotting fat, London

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(NaturalNews) A south London neighborhood was struck by a giant berg recently -- no, not an iceberg, but a massive "fatberg" composed of congealed cooking fat, baby wipes, and other festering waste that will remain unnamed. The grotesque blob was recently discovered stuck in a sewer line below London Road in Kingston, Surrey, and is said to be the largest waste clog ever identified in Great Britain.

The find occurred after area residents reported that they were unable to flush their toilets without the water backing up, prompting sewer engineers to have a closer look. After sending in a motorized rover to check for buildup, crews stumbled upon a 15-ton mass roughly the size of a London double-decker bus, which was affixed to the roof of the pipe.

"We've never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before," said Gordon Hailwood, waste contracts supervisor at the Thames Water utility, to the U.K.'s Daily Mail. "Given we've got the biggest sewers and this is the biggest fatberg we've encountered, we reckon it has to be the biggest such 'berg' in British history."

Crews from Thames Water routinely have to remove fat buildups from sewer lines, many of which are the result of people pouring grease and other types of fat down the drain rather than disposing of it properly. But this latest clog is the icing on the cake -- or perhaps the fat on the steak? -- as its sheer mass and volume was reportedly unlike anything ever before seen in a London sewer line.

"The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tons of fat," added Hailwood. "If we hadn't discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston."

Video footage of the blob captured by the rover can be viewed here:

Be careful what you flush down the toilet, say experts

London has about 67,000 miles of sewer pipes, according to The Globe and Mail, which sometimes makes it tough to keep a close eye on accumulating fat and other debris. But officials say they constantly monitor sewage flow to make sure, as best they can, to prevent blob formations from developing on sewer walls or corners.

In this case, the 15-ton blob had reportedly developed over the course of about six months, reducing the throughput of waste to a mere five percent of normal capacity. According to the Daily Mail, workmen had to blast high-pressure jets of water every day into the pipe over the course of 10 days just to dislodge the blob. Full removal of the fatberg took about six weeks, according to other reports.

"Homes and businesses need to change their ways when it comes to fat and wipes," said Hailwood to reporters. "Bin it -- don't block it."

Sources for this article include:





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