Utility company Thames Water says it has discovered what it calls the biggest “fatberg” ever recorded in Britain — a 15-tonnes blob of congealed fat and baby wipes the size of a bus lodged in a sewer drain.
Thames Water says the mound of “wrongly flushed festering food fat mixed with wet wipes” was found under under London Road in Kingston, Surrey.
It took three weeks to clear the mass.
Gordon Hailwood, a sewer contract manager for Thames Water, said if it had not been discovered in time, raw sewage could have started to spurt out of manholes across Kingston.
“While we’ve removed greater volumes of fat from under central London in the past, we’ve never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before,” Hailwood said.
“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.
“The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tonnes of fat.”
Thames Water deals with fatbergs all the time. But the company said Tuesday it was sharing news of the massive lard lump in hopes that customers will think twice about what they dump down the drain.
The blockage was discovered after residents in nearby flats complained that they couldn’t flush their toilets.
Closed circuit television investigations in London Road found the mound of fat had reduced the 70 x 48 centimetre sewer to just 5% of its normal capacity.
Thames Water was to begin repairing 20 metres of damaged pipe on Monday and work is expected to take up to six weeks to complete.