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Environment / Climate change

There was a "mind-boggling" ten tonne fatberg lurking under Chelsea

This week, in stuff-made-of-congealed-fat-and-other-horrors news: Chelsea has been rescued from the threat of a 40m long fatberg, lurking in one of its sewer pipes. 

Unfortunately Thames Water rescue teams arrived only after the fatberg’s gargantuum weight split the 1940s sewer pipe it was hiding in. 

In case you’ve forgotten, fatbergs are nasty lumps of congealed fat, which harden to produce a substance not dissimilar to concrete and block sewer pipes. They’re made far worse by people dumping wet wipes and sanitary products down toilets.

Here’s Chelsea’s model now:

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Image: Thames Water.

The repair and clean-out effort  will cost Thames Water £400,000 and should take a total of two months. But don’t feel too sorry for the residents above ground: according to Thames Water, the ‘berg was all their fault. 

In the Evening Standardproject manager Stephen Hunt is quoted as saying:

The amount of fat we’ve had to remove has been staggering. Chelsea has done itself proud here – we see blockages all the time on household sewer pipes, which are about big enough for a cricket ball to pass through – but to have this much damage on a sewer almost a metre in diameter is mind-boggling.

The original sewer has been so badly abused by fat being chucked down the plughole we’ve had to opt for the time consuming and disruptive option of replacing many metres of pipe.

I’d urge the residents of Chelsea to consider what lurks beneath their feet – and when it comes to getting rid of fat – ‘bin it – don’t block it.

A sobering warning if ever there was one. 
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