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Fatberg weighing ‘more than an African elephant’ cleared from London sewer

By Emily Chudy, PA
·1 min read

A fatberg weighing “more than an African elephant” has been cleared from a central London sewer.

The 10-tonne mass of fat, grease and other “unflushable” items including wet wipes was taken out of a sewer in Cadogan Place, Belgravia, by Thames Water engineers.

“This was a massive and disgusting fatberg that took a great deal of effort and teamwork to clear,” Matt Rimmer, Thames Water’s head of waste networks, said.

Fatberg found in London swerer
(Thames Water/PA)

“It was set hard and had to be destroyed to get the sewer flowing well again.”

Thames Water engineers used high-powered water jets to blast the 30m-long fatberg loose, before using small tools and even their hands to clear the blockage.

The crew said they had to dig through 300 metres of silt and grease to reach the fatberg, which is formed when fat, grease and oil is poured down sinks or drains and combines with “unflushable” items.

The Belgravia blockage is one of several fatbergs to have been cleared from the capital’s sewers, with a combined 140 tonnes of fatberg removed from Greenwich, Pall Mall, and the Shard in 2019.

Fatberg found in London swerer
(Thames Water/PA)

Mr Rimmer said: “Our brilliant engineers were able to clear the huge blockage before it caused serious problems, but we’re urging everyone to be especially careful what they flush down their toilets.

“Many items like wet wipes have plastic in them and won’t break down in the sewers, even if they say they’re flushable.

“We’d urge everyone to help fight the fatberg by only flushing the three Ps – pee, poo and paper – as well as disposing of fat and oils in the bin, not the sink.”