Green Room

Video: Beware the Fatberg … really

posted at 5:26 pm on August 6, 2013 by

And what exactly is a Fatberg?  Thanks to The Week and this video of the sewer system in the southwest London neighborhood of Kingston, we all know now.  It may not be as fascinating as Sharknado, but the stench is familiar.  Please observe our very first Too Gross For Work warning before hitting play:

On Tuesday, utility officials announced the discovery of a 16.5-ton “fatberg” composed of congealed fat and wet wipes blocking the sewers underneath the Kingston neighborhood in southwest London.

“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,” Gordon Hailwood, waste contracts supervisor for Thames Water, said in a statement. “If we hadn’t discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston.”

The bus-sized fatberg got so big that it reduced the sewers to only 5 percent of their normal capacity, and damaged them so badly it will take Thames Water six weeks to repair them.

Don’t think for a moment that it can’t happen here, either — and in fact, it already is.  People are a little too credulous about wet wipes’ claims of being flushable, when nothing should go down a toilet except waste and toilet paper.  Add that to people dumping animal fat and cooking grease down their sinks instead of into their garbage, and it’s not long before the fatbergs form and sewer systems clog, with extremely unpleasant results.

But hey, I bet the fatbergs kill the alligators … and the feral pigs of London, too.  Too bad fatbergs aren’t similarly fanciful.

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Does Mitch Berg fall in that category? *ducking*

simkeith on August 6, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Honey boo boo’s mom

ChunkyLover on August 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM

So that’s where they put Weiner’s, Spitzer’s and Filner’s consciences.

rbj on August 6, 2013 at 6:32 PM

It could be worse.

For the record those are sacks of worms.

rob verdi on August 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM

If the Titanic had hit that, it would have just slipped down the side of the ship without receiving any damage.

portlandon on August 6, 2013 at 7:17 PM

There are about a billion-and-a-half Christie jokes in this one. I’ll leave it up to the readers to make them up.

nobar on August 6, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Thank God for robotic cameras, I don’t have to imagine a guy in a wetsuit down there.

JEM on August 6, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Well, that’s why they call it a sewer.

PattyJ on August 6, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Result of phosphate bans. Ever since they banned trisodium phosphate in detergents, the pipes have been clogging with fat (and our clothes and dishes aren’t clean). Go to the paint section of your hardware store and get some (TSP, the real thing, not the TSP “substitute”) and toss a bit in your dishwasher and laundry. Your clothes, dishes, and pipes will thank you.

crosspatch on August 7, 2013 at 2:48 AM

Thank God for robotic cameras, I don’t have to imagine a guy in a wetsuit down there.

JEM on August 6, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Imagine…and ye shall receive…whether you want to or not!

NavyMustang on August 7, 2013 at 6:33 AM

Saw the headline yesterday (‘Fatberg’ weighing 15 TONNES found blocking sewers under streets of London) and thought, “Michael Moore is in England?”

apostic on August 7, 2013 at 7:24 AM

Alternative headline:

Michael Moore seen swimming in London sewer”

krome on August 7, 2013 at 9:55 AM

True story: Friend of a friend in Maine works for the sanitation department. He had to bail on golf league a couple weeks ago because as he described it “it’s corn season and we are all working overtime”. Yep. The guys that take care of the sewer system have a “corn season”. Ewww.

vinylsquares on August 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Could they harvest that and burn it as fuel? Or spray it with hot soapy water to break it up?

Mohonri on August 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

crosspatch, I didn’t know that. Of course the media will never dare mention it. I predict they will now outlaw putting fat down the pipes. We will be required to put it in a “green” container and dispose of it in the appropriate bin.

Government fail leads to more government fail.

PattyJ on August 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

“We’re gonna need more Drano…”

Tzetzes on August 7, 2013 at 12:53 PM

“video removed by user”

Here you go:

RedNewEnglander on August 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Instead of using toilet paper or wet wipes, use a bidet. Cleaner, better for the environment and saves you money on paper…

And you don’t have to have a separate porcelain bidet either, the attachable kinds work just fine. I recommend the ones by GoBidet.

Just my 2 cents….

powerpickle on August 7, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Guess Ed missed this part of the report

Researchers have collected and analyzed materials from wastewater pumps and found that most aren’t items labeled flushable, but are baby wipes, hard-surface wipes or other non-flushable items

Al in St. Lou on August 7, 2013 at 8:24 PM