A glob of fat the size of a school bus was stuck in the London sewers. The 15-ton ‘fatberg‘ formed when waste food fat congealed around discarded wet wipes in the main drains under London Road in Kingston, Surrey. The blockage was removed by engineers before raw sewage started spurting out of neighborhood manholes. Fatberg-damaged sewer pipes will take six weeks to repair.
“Fat in sewage has been a gradually increasing problem as diet and lifestyles have evolved. Over the past three to four decades, the increase in fat, oil and grease in sewage initially caused ‘fat balls’ in sewage and as these grew larger in size, they have been recently described as fatbergs.
The problem of fatbergs was simply not anticipated when most of London’s sewers were built more 140 years ago. This is because the diet of the citizens of 19th century London was significantly different to what we consume today. As fatty and fast food consumption has increased, so has the fat in the drains beneath our feet.”
— “We must change our ways to fight fatbergs,” Rao Bhamidimarri, The Conversation
(Rao Bhamidimarri is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Science and the Built Environment at London South Bank University.)
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