Thames Water dispatches network protection team to restaurants after dislodging 40-tonne fatberg

Thames Water Greenwich fatberg

Thames Water has been knocking on the door of foodservice establishments in South London after clearing a 40-tonne fatberg from an underground sewer in Greenwich.

The mass, which weighed the same as three red buses, was clogging up an underground sewer in Greenwich and had taken up 80% of its capacity at some points.

The fatberg took three weeks to clear following a “heroic” effort by engineers, who even pulled out some of the monster blockage with their hands.

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High-powered water jets were used to blast the blockage loose and debris was removed by hand.

Thames Water said its network protection team has been visiting food establishments in the area, ensuring they are not putting fat, grease and oil down their sinks and that fat traps are installed and working properly.

Fatbergs are formed when fat, grease and oil is poured down sinks or drains and combines with “unflushable” items from domestic users.

Matt Rimmer, Thames Water’s head of waste networks, said: “This was a massive and disgusting blockage that took a great deal of effort and teamwork to clear and get the sewer working well again.

“I’m happy that our team was able to get down and work hard to quickly to clear the fatberg before it could cause problems for our customers and the environment.


Businesses that allow fat, grease and oil to get in to sewers can face prosecution, fines of hundreds of thousands of pounds and may even be forced to close.

Thames Water serves 15 million customers and spends £18m every year clearing 75,000 blockages from its sewers in London and the Thames Valley.

In 2017 engineers cleared a giant 250-metre-long fatberg in Whitechapel. The mass was blocking a stretch of Victorian sewer more than twice the length of the football pitch at Wembley Stadium and weighed a staggering 130 tonnes.

An eight-strong crew worked nine hours a day, using high-powered jet hoses to break up the mass before sucking it out with tankers. The waste was then disposed of at a recycling site in Stratford.

Only 30% of commercial kitchens equipped to lead fatberg fight

Tags : fatbergfatsFOGoils and greaseThames Water
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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