This is a nice, stomach-churner for your Wednesday afternoon.

A 15-tonne blob of congealed food fats, excrement and sanitary wipes the size of a double-decker bus had blocked up a section of sewer beneath the London suburb of Kingston and was affecting the flushing of resident’s toilets. Complaints by the residents led to an inspection by some intrepid sewage workers from Thames Water who, unfortunately, took video footage of the blockage in situ.

The blockage, known in the sewer trade as a ‘Fatberg’ is being called the biggest ever in London and took the best part of two weeks to successfully dredge.

“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,” Gordon Hailwood, waste contracts supervisor for the company, said in a statement quoted by

Had the ‘Fatberg’ not been removed, sewerage could well have spilled into the streets and homes of locals, which would have posed a serious health risk to residents.

“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.”

Did you really have to use the word ‘spurting’, Gordon?

Still, the video footage of the blob shows that the blockage had reduced the drain’s circumference by nearly 95 per cent.

Soap companies will likely be rubbing their hands together in glee at the prospect of 15-tonnes of fatty material being bought into the light, with a spokesperson from CountyClean Environmental Services saying it will all go to good use. 

“We recycle everything that we remove – the water is extracted and the remaining fats and oils are turned into products like soap, biodiesel and fuel.”

I’m never buying a bar of soap again.

If you’ve got a strong stomach you can watch the footage taken of the ‘Fatberg’ below.

Image: YouTube