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Britain’s biggest ever ‘fatberg’ removed from a London sewer

The UK's biggest 'fatberg' was discovered under a street in Kingston. Picture: County Clean. The UK's biggest 'fatberg' was discovered under a street in Kingston. Picture: County Clean.

Friday, August 2, 2013
2:51 PM

A bus-sized lump of wrongly-flushed festering food fat mixed with wet wipes was removed from a sewer in south London.

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The ‘fatberg’ had formed in drains under London Road in Kingston, and if it had not been discovered Thames Water say it could have caused sewage to flood homes, streets and businesses in the leafy suburb.

Gordon Hailwood, waste contracts supervisor for the utilities firm, said: “While we’ve removed greater volumes of fat from under central London in the past, we’ve never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before.

“Given we’ve got the biggest sewers and this is the biggest fatberg we’ve encountered, we reckon it has to be the biggest such ‘berg’ in British history.

“The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tonnes of fat. If we hadn’t discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston.”

He said the blockage was so big it damaged the sewer, and repairs will take up to six weeks to complete.

Mr Hailwood said homes and businesses need to change their ways, and when it comes to fat and wipes people need to ‘bin it, not block it’.

The blockage was discovered after residents in nearby flats complained they couldn’t flush their toilets.

Thames Water said CCTV investigations under London Road found the mound of fat had reduced the 70x48cm sewer to just five per cent of its normal capacity.

It will begin repairs to 20 metres of damaged pipe on Monday, August 5, with two lanes of London Road closed westbound.

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