‘Brute force and shovels’ used to defeat restaurant-fuelled fatberg weighing 130 tonnes

Whitechapel fatberg engineers

Thames Water has declared victory in its nine-week battle against a monster restaurant-fuelled fatberg that was clogging up a sewer in Whitechapel.

As revealed by FEJ in September, restaurants and food outlets were largely to blame for the 250-metre long congealed mass, which was one of the largest ever found.

Teams have been working in cramped and challenging conditions four metres below the east London street to remove the famous congealed mass of fat, oil and domestic waste.

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Work in Whitechapel Road took longer than first expected due to the damage the fatberg – weighing a whopping 130 tonnes – caused to the one metre high egg-shaped sewer, with the final stretch removed manually, “using brute force and shovels”.

Thames Water waste network manager, Alex Saunders, said: “Our work is finished, and the beast finally defeated after a mammoth effort from the team. It was some of the most gut-wrenching work many would have seen on national television, and one of the reasons why the man-made Whitechapel fatberg captured the world’s imagination. The good news is it has helped Thames Water and other water companies around the world get the message across that cooking fat, oils and grease should never go down the plughole.”

A ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of the Whitechapel sewer that was clogged up by a giant fatberg.

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Thames Water spends around £1m a month clearing blockages from its 68,000 mile sewer network.

Eight times every hour a customer suffers a blockage caused by items being flushed away or put down the drain which shouldn’t be.

Engineers at the firm began visiting food outlets earlier this year to discuss how they dispose of fat and food waste, plus offer advice on grease trapping equipment for commercial kitchens.

Andy Brierley, director of Lanes Utilities, Thames Water’s wastewater network services maintenance partner, added: “Nailing this fatberg was like battling a giant Harry Potter movie creature beneath the streets of London. Around each sewer corner we discovered a new fatberg challenge.”

Tags : fatberggreaseoilThames Water
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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