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Fatberg Haunts English Sewer

Friday, January 18, 2019

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A ghoul made of grease and used baby wipes haunts the Sidmouth, England, sewers: The fatberg, a 210-foot-long mass, is the largest discovered in Devon or Cornwall.

This fatberg is also reportedly one of the largest found close to the sea. South West Water noted that breaking down the fatberg will likely take several weeks.

England’s Fatbergs

This is England's second such monstrosity in as many years. In a separate incident in September 2017, an 820-foot long sewer blockage that weighed 130 tons lurked beneath a busy Whitechapel road. While its rough exterior makes it appear aged, this septic phenomenon can crop up as fast as a nightmare.

A number of factors go into the formation of fatbergs, noted Thames Water, the company that tackled the Whitechapel mass. What can begin the formation of the clog are fats and oils poured down the sink, and the flushing of non-flushables (food waste, sanitary towels and wet wipes as a few examples).

South West Water

A ghoul made of grease and used baby wipes haunts the Sidmouth, England’s sewers: The fatberg, a 210-foot-long mass, is the largest discovered in Devon or Cornwall, according to South West water.

Once flushed, these items combine into one solid mass in the sewer pipes, which can result in blockages and flooding.

In the case of the London fatberg, the behemoth was uncovered during a routine inspection, and now a piece of it is on display at the Museum of London. The exhibit was marked in February 2018 with creative agency KK Outlet creating a number of low-budget horror movies to tell the story of how the sewer villain came to exist.

Sidmouth Sewer

As for the Sidmouth fatberg, which was also discovered through a routine inspection, removal is slated to start Feb. 4, taking up to eight weeks to complete, though rain and the volume of fat within a confined space could slow down removal.

“It shows how this key environmental issue is not just facing the U.K.’s cities, but right here in our coastal towns,” said Andrew Roantree, South West Water’s director of wastewater.

“It is the largest discovered in our service history and will take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions. Thankfully it has been identified in good time with no risk to bathing waters.”

According to Live Science, flushing used baby wipes can lead to the material clumping together and creating what becomes the scaffolding for fatberg formation. The U.K. government is reportedly moving to ban wet wipes entirely. 

   

Tagged categories: EU; Europe; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Project Management; Sewer systems

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