By Joshua Barker on 18/09/2017

Today it has been reported that Thames Water have found a 250 metre long fatberg in a drain line in East London.  Just imagine that!  This is longer than Tower Bridge.  Apparently this is one of the largest found and will take drainage engineers three weeks to clear. 

What is a fatberg?

Basically this is a large mass of congealed fat which goes extremely hard in the drain line and causes a blockage.  Other debris such as wet wipes, nappies and sanitary items attach themselves to the fatberg causing further problems.  This particular fatberg is about as heavy as 11 double decker buses. 


Engineers will have to enter the sewer with specialised breathing equipment and use machinery to break up the fat, then bag up the waste and remove it from the drain line. 


This sort of blockage will affect the waste drainage of many properties in the area and cause localised flooding as drains back-up.  Latest figures show that 1000 homes and 5000 gardens in the Thames Water region flood each year due to blocked drains.


How can this be avoided?

To help prevent this happening, we should all be conscious of what we are putting down our drainage system. 

  • Always scrape your plates of food and fat before washing up or loading your dishwasher. 
  • Make your own fat trap - Margarine tubs, plastic pots and jam jars make handy containers. Capture cooled, leftover cooking fat and oil - which you can put in the bin. 
  • Remember running the hot tap and pouring washing up liquid down the sink will not stop fat from congealing in the pipework.


So lets all try and think about what we are putting into our drains, and be aware of the problems that can be caused by misuse of our drainage system. 


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