There's An 820-Foot-Long Fatberg Clogging An East London Sewer

Have you ever heard the term "fatberg" and wondered what it is? Well, it's not an iceberg made out of whale blubber, it's actually something far more disgusting - a huge clump of condoms, wet wipes, fat and other gross stuff people flush down the toilet that doesn't dissolve.

A fatberg nicknamed the Whitechapel Whale, which measures 820 feet long and weighs 130 metric tons, is clogging the sewers of east London and forcing sewer workers to wage war against the foul beast:

“This fatberg is up there with the biggest we’ve ever seen. It’s a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove as it’s set hard,” said Matt Rimmer, Thames Water’s head of waste networks, who adds that it’s “like trying to break up concrete.”

An eight-person crew is using high-powered jet hoses to break up the mass before sucking it out with tankers. That material will then be hauled to a recycling site. During an eight-to-five workday, workers will remove an average of 20 to 30 metric tons per shift.

Just like his American counterparts, who have begged citizens not to flush disposable wipes, Rimmer says it’s frustrating as these situations are “totally avoidable and caused by fat, oil, and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo.” Instead of sending this stuff into the city’s sewers, folks should dispose of them in the garbage.

“When it comes to preventing fatbergs, everyone has a role to play,” Rimmer says. “Yes, a lot of the fat comes from food outlets, but the wipes and sanitary items are far more likely to be from domestic properties. The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish and our message to everyone is clear – please ‘Bin it – don’t block it’.”

-Via Boing Boing

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