Developing

Bus-Sized 'Fatberg' Threatened London Streets

Repairs have started after Britain's biggest ever "fatberg" - the size of a double-decker bus - was removed from a London sewer.

The 15-tonne mass of festering food fat mixed with wet wipes and sanitary products threatened to send raw sewage spurting onto the leafy streets of Kingston upon Thames.

"We've never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before," said Thames Water waste contracts supervisor Gordon Hailwood.

"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.

"It was so big it damaged the sewer and repairs will take up to six weeks."

The foul blockage was discovered when residents of nearby flats complained they could not flush their toilets.

Investigators found the 70x48cm sewer had been reduced to just 5% of its normal capacity.

Mr Hailwood added: "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."

Workers used a high-pressure jet hose to blast away the massive blockage - but the size of the fatberg meant it took them 10 nights of graft.

"Attached to the front of the hose is a stainless steel 'bomb'," explained Graeme Sanderson from CountyClean Environmental Services.

"This works by injecting fresh water backwards at very high pressure.

"This drives the head forwards through any blockages and up the brick sewer cleaning the brickwork and washing blockages backwards."

Repairs on 20 metres of damaged pipe affected by the fatberg started on Monday and are expected to take six weeks.

Water bosses want the public to change their ways to help avoid another gigantic fat blob forming under London's streets.

For fat, sanitary items and wet wipes - which do not break down like toilet paper - the message is "bin it - don’t block it".