Wave goodbye to Sidmouth's monster fatberg!
PUBLISHED: 13:54 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:39 12 April 2019
As of tomorrow, Sidmouth's giant fatberg will no longer be lurking beneath the town.
The final two South West Water tankers will leave tomorrow (Thursday, March 28), after the successful removal of a 64-metre monster of congealed, fat, oil and wet wipes.
The site compound will be removed and The Esplanade will be reopened to traffic on Friday, March 29.
South West Water discovered the fatberg, the size of six double decker buses, when carrying out routine inspections under The Esplanade just before Christmas.
It is believed to be the biggest ever discovered in Devon or Cornwall, and thought to be one of the largest found so close to the sea.
Workers have spent the past eight weeks tackling the beast, undertaking gruelling work and braving exceptionally challenging conditions.
Workers had to be winched into the sewer via a manhole, and for the first few days needed to wear full breathing apparatus because of dangerous gases in the pipe.
At times, water levels in the sewer made it too treacherous to enter. Specialist jetting equipment and manual labour were used to break up the fatberg before it was loaded onto tankers.
A total of 36 full tanker loads – each holding 3,000 gallons – of debris have been excavated and removed by a team of seven confined-space specialists.
The fatberg was taken to a local sewage treatment works where it was fed into the anaerobic digester and produced energy to power the plant. The works are believed to have cost around £130,000.
South West Water’s director of wastewater, Andrew Roantree, said: “Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the team for all their hard work and to the people of Sidmouth for their patience during the fatberg’s removal.
“The Sidmouth fatberg is the largest discovered in our service history, and illustrates how this key environmental issue is not just facing the UK’s biggest cities but our coastal towns as well.
“The fatberg has made headlines all over the world, and we really hope that this will help everyone to remember to only flush the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – down the loo and to dispose of fat, oil and grease in the bin not down the sink.”
Dedicated ‘Love Your Loo’ advisers from South West Water have been on hand in the town, firstly in a pop-up shop on the High Street and then at the library and swimming pool, to answer residents’ questions about the fatberg and what should and shouldn’t be flushed.
Over the next couple of weeks advisers will be visiting hotels, restaurants, cafes and takeaways to offer advice to businesses on the best ways of disposing of fat, oil and grease.
Mr Roantree said: “Although not on the same scale as the Sidmouth fatberg, we deal with around 8,500 blocked sewers every year, which costs about £4.5million to clear and adds to bills.
“Most of these blockages are caused by people inappropriately flushing baby wipes, hygiene wipes, cleaning wipes, cleansing pads and sanitary products which do not break down in the same way as toilet paper and get glued together by fat, oil and grease poured down drains.
“Thankfully the Sidmouth fatberg has now gone but we’ll need the help of the people of Sidmouth to make sure it never returns.”