Fatberg causes severe damage in London sewer

Working in London sewer. Photo: The Guardian

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A 40 meters long lump of congealed fat and household waste – known as fatberg – caused severe damage to a sewer in Chelsea in London. Repairing the damaged sewer is expected to cost Thames Water approximately 550.000 euro’s and will take at least two months, reports newspaper the Guardian.

The 10-tonne lump of wet wipes and fat has been removed from the 1940s-era sewer. The original sewer had been so badly abused by fat being chucked down the plughole Thames Water had to replace nearly 40 metres of pipe. So far the company has replaced 22 metres of broken sewer with new piping, with another 17 metres left. The job is very time-consuming because the team is having to dig down by hand due to the number of other pipes in the earth below the street.

Increasing problem
Fatbergs – formed when fat clumps together with other household waste – are becoming an increasing problem for London’s sewers. The capital, which has the highest concentration of food businesses in the country, produces an estimated 32m–44m litres of used cooking oil every year, much of which is poured down drains instead of put in bins. The use of wet wipes as toilet paper is also increasing, worsening the situation.
One in five people admit flushing wet wipes down the loo, according to research by Thames Valley. The company warns that doing so creates risks sewage flooding homes. The water company dealt with 200.000 blockages in the last five years, with 18.000 homes flooded with sewage.

Source: The Guardian

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