'Biggest ever' fatberg weighing whopping 130 tonnes found in east London sewer

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A ‘monster’ fatberg weighing 130 tonnes has been discovered in a sewer in Whitechapel.

The 250 metre-long solid mass of wet wipes, nappies, fat and oil weighs the same as 11 double-decker buses and is thought to be one of the biggest ever.

Thames Water engineers say it will take them three weeks to remove the berg, which is blocking a stretch of Victorian sewer more than twice the length of two Wembley football pitches.

Head of waste networks Matt Rimmer told the Standard: “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.

A workman in protective clothing prepares to go into the sewer to chip away at the enormous fatberg

“It’s basically like trying to break up concrete. 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.”

Work to remove the fatberg under Whitechapel Road started this week and involves an eight-man crew using jet hoses to break it up before sucking it out into tankers, which take it away to a recycling site in Stratford. 

Workers are removing around 20 tonnes of solidified fat per shift

They are removing about 20 to 30 tonnes per shift, working nine hours a day, seven days a week.

Mr Rimmer said: “We check our sewers routinely but these things can build up really quickly and cause big problems with flooding.”

The enormous fatberg weighs the same as 11 double-decker buses

The fatberg is more than 10 times bigger than the one in Kingston in 2013 which made national headlines.

The company said it spends about £1 million a month clearing blockages from its sewers. Mr Rimmer urged people to think about what they flush down toilets: “The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish.”

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