15-Ton 'Fatberg' Nearly Blew Lid Off London Sewers

Wet wipes, cooking fats caused bus-sized blockage

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 6, 2013 12:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Cooking grease and wet wipes joined forces in the sewers of London to create a revolting 15-ton, bus-sized glob of slime workers dubbed a "fatberg." Waste disposal officials say the blockage is the biggest of its kind ever found and if it hadn't been removed in the nick in time, raw sewage would have started bursting out of manholes across a wide area, Sky News reports.

It took an eight-person crew several days to blast away the blockage, which workers say smelled like "the worst wet dog you can ever think of." In the US as well as the UK, campaigns have been launched to urge the public to keep wet wipes and cooking grease out of the sewers. "Fats and wet wipes together are just a recipe for disaster," a Thames Water spokesman tells NBC News. They will go down the drain but in the sewers, "a bit of fat will catch and a wet wipe will add on to it and it will catch and catch and catch." (And then there was the time something more valuable got dumped into the sewer...)

This image from CCTV footage shows the fatberg in all its glory.
This image from CCTV footage shows the "fatberg" in all its glory.   (CountyClean)
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