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Fatberg the weight of a 'small bungalow' removed from London sewer
19 February 2021, 09:42
A "huge, disgusting" fatberg the weight of a small bungalow has been removed from a London sewer.
The foul-smelling mass was removed from a conduit in Canary Wharf over two weeks, and has prompted a warning to the public to be "careful what they flush".
Thames Water engineers used high-powered water jets and hand tools to chip away at the rock-like heap, which is said to have smelled like composting festival toilets and rotten meat.
Fatbergs are formed when oil, grease and fat poured down drains combine with non-biodegradable items such as wet wipes, nappies and cotton buds.
Located under Yabsley Street, the blockage was clogging long sections of the sewer.
Thames Water, which removed the fatberg alongside MTS Cleansing Services, said it could have led to sewage spilling into homes and the environment if it had grown any further.
"This was a huge, disgusting fatberg that took a great deal of brute force and teamwork to clear," said Matt Rimmer, Thames Water's head of waste networks.
"Our brilliant engineers were able to clear the huge blockage before it caused serious problems, negotiating tricky and cramped working conditions along the way.
"We'd ask everyone to help fight the fatberg by only flushing the 3Ps - pee, poo and paper - as well as disposing of fat and oils in the bin, not the sink."
The fatberg is the latest to have been removed in recent years, with another equated to an African elephant removed in October 2020.
In 2019, 140 tonnes-worth of fatbergs were removed from the drains of Greenwich, Pall Mall and the Shard.
Thames Water spends £18 million each year clearing 75,000 blockages from sewers in London and the Thames Valley.
Its "Bin it - don't block it" campaign urges customers to consider what can and cannot be flushed down their toilets.