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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

'Monster' 64m fatberg discovered blocking sewer in UK

The mass, which is made up of oil, fat and wet wipes, is the largest-ever fatberg to have been discovered in Devon.

The 64m fatberg was the largest ever discovered in Devon
The 64m fatberg was the largest ever discovered in Devon
Image: Twitter/South West Water

A UK-BASED water company has discovered a 64m ‘fatberg’ blocking a sewer in south-western town of Sidmouth.

South West Water said that the “monster” fatberg is more than six double-decker buses long, and is the largest discovered in the English county Devon to date.

Fatbergs form when wet-wipes get flushed down toilets, leading fats, oil and grease to congeal together and gradually form a hard mass.

Commenting on the discovery, South West Water’s director of wastewater, Andrew Roantree said that it showed how the issue that led to the creation of the fatberg was affecting coastal towns, and not just British cities.

“It is the largest discovered in our service history and [it] will take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions,” Roantree said.

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

Sewer workers will begin to remove the fatberg next month, and will require full breathing apparatus to carry out the removal, which will involve a combination of manual labour and special sewer jetting equipment.

The company added that it hoped the fatberg could be used to create renewable energy at local treatment works once it is removed.

Last year, Irish Water launched two campaigns – ‘Think Before You Flush’ and ‘Think Before You Pour’ – to highlight the problems caused when members of the public do not disposing of sanitary items correctly.

The utility reminded the public not to flush items such as wet wipes, cotton bud sticks, nappies or cotton wool pads down the toilet and to put them in a bin instead.

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