Monster From The Depths: Fatberg Sewer Blockage

A monster of a fatberg sewer blockage has been found in the little old seaside town of Sidmouth, Devon, back in December.

In a peaceful seaside town, on the South West coast of England, a monster was lurking in the depths. Peaceful and undisturbed it lay dormant, growing in size and strength.

That is until one cold December morning, a sewage engineer entered its lair. Gazing upon the sheer size of the monster that lay before them, the smell was so overpowering that breathing apparatus was needed.  

A 64 metre stretch of congealed waste perched along the concrete stretch of wall, resembling what could only be described as “like something out of a horror scene”.

It was even stated that members of staff from the South West Water company had to wear breathing apparatus in order to get near to the fatberg sewer blockage. Workers carried out 3D scans to work out how they were going to restore free flow to their sewage system once more.

what is a fatberg

What is a Fatberg?

Perhaps you have never heard this term before? Or maybe these are known to you by a different name.

A fatberg is a large blockage that is formed over time. People pour fat down their drains, or flush wet wipes down their toilets. Well, these collect over time and form what is known as a “fatberg”.

These have the potential to cause catastrophic damage to a city. Not only do they carry the potential to flood the city, they also cost the water companies vast sums of money to remove.

This gigantic glossy fatberg sewer blockage is not uncommon in this country. It was only 2 years ago that an even bigger fatberg was discovered in a London sewer.

How Are They Formed?

When the grease and cooking fats are poured down the drain, they join together. The sewers alkaline environment helps with this.

As this travels through the pipes, it combines with non-biodegradable products such as wet wipes, nappies, sanitary towels and other items that have been flushed.

This will become calcified and hardened. Thus, creating a fatberg sewer blockage. This monstrosity becomes hardened, like concrete. Forming on the bends or rough surface walls they begin to block the free flow of water within the sewage system.

Cooking fat is the biggest contributor, making up roughly 90% of a fatberg sewer blockages mass.

How can we help?

We are likely all to blame at some point for contributing to this. We all have a role to play in the prevention of further fatberg sewer blockages. You may think that by pouring that little bit of fat from your left-over dinner will not do any harm.

Well you are wrong!

If everyone thought this way, then that’s an awful lot of fat entering the sewage system. But that is not all you can do to help.

Another vital piece of advice we all need to be aware of, regards being vigilant to what we flush down our toilets. A lot of products that are labelled as flushable aren’t healthy for our countries sewage system.

Products such as wet wipes, or face wipes, may say they are flushable. But this does not mean that they are biodegradable.

If you stick to what is widely known as the “Three P’s” by South West Water, when flushing things down your toilets (pee, poo and paper), this will help with not only blockages in the sewer system, but also your own pipes.

To Conclude…

As scary a revelation as a fatberg can be, they can be prevented. However, this requires a joint effort across the Nation.

If everyone plays their part, we can help to significantly reduce the chance of a fatberg occurring in a drain near you.

Battling your own drainage woes? You may not have a fatberg, but a drainage issue that needs immediate attention. Contact an Able Drainage engineer today and we can respond 24/7 to fix your issue.

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