Pirate FM News 3 minute read

Removing "monster" fatberg could take months

Removing "monster" fatberg could take months

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 2:01pm 6th February 2019. (Updated at 2:03pm 6th February 2019)

Work is about to begin to clear this "monster" fatberg from a sewer in Devon.

Yes, the scene below Sidmouth does look like something out of a horror movie!

Staff from South West Water were seen wearing breathing apparatus when they descended on Tuesday.

Workers have been carrying out a 3D scan of the 64m mass of hardened oil and wet wipes.

It is longer than four double-decker buses and could take up to eight weeks to remove.

sidmouth fatberg
Work is beginning to remove a "monster" fatberg from the sewer underneath the Devon town of Sidmouth

What causes a fatberg?

Fatbergs form when people flush waste such as fat, nappies, wet wipes and sanitary towels down their toilets.

"Stop the block by only flushing the three Ps - pee, paper and poo - and by not pouring fat, oil and grease down the drain" is the advice from South West Water.

"It shows how this key environmental issue is not just facing the UK's cities, but right here in our coastal towns.

"It is the largest discovered in our service history and will take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.

"Thankfully it has been identified in good time with no risk to bathing waters.

"If you keep just one new year's resolution this year, let it be to not pour fats, oil or grease down the drain, or flush wet-wipes down the loo. The consequences can be significant - including sewer flooding in your own home.

"Put your pipes on a diet and don't feed the fatberg."

South West Water, Andrew Roantree

sidmouth fatberg
The removal will take up to eight weeks but the air is too unstable to take cameras down to film the operation

How will workers get rid of it?

A team will use high pressure water hoses and pick axes to break up the mass.

Jetting equipment will be deployed to suck the fat up to tankers on the surface.

The waste will be processed and turned into green energy.

South West Water has said that the air is too unstable to take cameras down to film the removal.

That is because of high levels of hydrogen, sulphate and methane.

The work marks the first time the water firm has tackled a fatberg on this scale.

A spokesman said the clearance would have to be carried out in "exceptionally challenging conditions".

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