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Routine Drainage Complaint Saves South London From “Fatberg”

August 7, 2013
Public Health

A routine drainage call out in Kingston South London revealed a 15 tonne ball of congealed fat the size of a bus which was constricting flow in the 2.4 metre diameter brick sewer down to 5%. Residents in a nearby block of flats had first alerted Kingston Borough Council to the problem when they had difficulty flushing their toilets. A Thames Water drainage team took almost three weeks to clear the blockage using high powered water jets, something spokesman Simon Evans said the company had never seen before; “Kingston came very close to being flooded with sewage. We have recorded greater volumes of fat in the past but we don’t believe there’s ever been a single congealed lump of lard matching this one.”

With the highest concentration of food businesses in the country, London produces an estimated 32 million to 44 million litres of used cooking oil every year, a lot of which finds itself poured down drains. Thames Water have also witnessed the increasing use of wet wipes as toilet paper a change which has added to the problem as Mr Evans explained; “We have 59,000 miles of sewer and fat and wet wipes are the main partners in ‘sewer abuse’ crime.” The possibilities for the use of so much waste fat are however currently being explored by London Mayor Boris Johnson who is pressing for it to be used as a fuel to run London?s bus fleet, while there are also plans to generate up to 130 gigawatt hours of electricity by burning 30 tonnes a day of fat, ?and grease.??

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