Thames Water remove two monster fatbergs weighing 100 tonnes

16 December 2019, 11:36

The Pall Mall fatberg (left) and the blockage found near the Shard (right)
The Pall Mall fatberg (left) and the blockage found near the Shard (right). Picture: Thames Water

By Megan White

Two huge fatbergs weighing almost 100 tonnes combined have been cleared by Thames Water from underneath London’s streets.

The blockages - made of drained cooking fat, wet wipes, sanitary products and other unflushables - were threatening to cause flooding over the festive period.

The first lump, weighing a whopping 63 tonnes was carved from a Pall Mall sewer, while the second, weighing 30 tonnes and stretching 70 metres, was removed from the sewers near the Shard.

Stephen Pattenden, Thames Water network manager, said: “Fatbergs are like monsters from the deep, lurking and growing under our feet, and the team worked around the clock to defeat these two before they could cause damage to our customers or the environment.

“We’ve all seen the problems and damage they cause, and I’d therefore ask everyone to please make sure they don’t pour fats and oils down the sink. By letting the fat cool, putting it in a proper container like a glass jar and then in the bin stops a fatberg growing into a monster.

The Cathedral Street fatberg
The Cathedral Street fatberg. Picture: Thames Water

“Fatbergs are a vivid reminder to us all that out of sight is not gone forever, and each year we have to deal with 75,000 blockages across our network at a cost of £18 million. Many of these could easily be avoided.

“It’s an extremely difficult job getting them out of our sewers. It’s cramped, hot and very unpleasant, especially when a chunk of fatberg is disturbed. The smell can be overpowering. So that everyone can have a happy Christmas, please bin your fat and wipes and don’t feed the fatberg.”

The Pall Mall fatberg contained several tonnes of concrete which had to be broken up by engineers using power tools and then carried out by hand.

It comes months after Thames Water had to remove a 100 metre ‘Concreteberg’ from underneath Islington, while a 40-tonne fatberg was also cleared from a Greenwich sewer last month.

In late 2017, Thames Water removed a 130-tonne Whitechapel fatberg.