The fatberg is hard and nasty and fills the tunnel.
Credit: South West Water
A 210-foot-long (64 meters) monster made from grease and used baby-wipes has clogged up a sewer in Sidmouth in southwestern England. British officials said in a statement they expect that removing the gooey blob, which will happen in “exceptionally challenging work conditions,” could take up to eight weeks.
“Fatbergs” like this one have become unpleasantly familiar in the United Kingdom. As Live Science reported back in 2017, workers used high-pressure water jets to slowly break down an 820-foot-long (250 m), 143-ton (130,000 kilograms) “rancid blob” that formed in a London sewer. Eventually, that mass was converted to biofuel, but it took workers months to fully restore function in the affected area. [The Poop on Pooping: 5 Misconceptions Explained]
(Another chunk of that fatberg, according to the Associated Press, ended up on display at the Museum of London.)
Devon’s largest #fatberg has been discovered in Sidmouth. It’s a whopping 64 metres long, that’s over 6 double-decker buses back-to-back #ThinkSink Don’t pour cooking oil, fat and grease down the sink#LoveYourLoo Only flush the #3Ps – pee, paper and poo pic.twitter.com/fTtd2vazLc
— South West Water (@SouthWestWater) January 8, 2019
Part of the problem seems to be the British public’s habit of flushing used baby wipes down the toilet, as these can clump together and form the scaffolding for fatbergs. The issue has become serious enough that the government has proposed banning the wipes altogether.
For now officials in Sidmouth are asking residents to avoid contributing to this new mass before workers can remove it, saying, “Don’t feed the fatberg.”
Originally published on Live Science.