Sidmouth has a fatberg; but what is it?
- Credit: Picture: Thames Water
Sidmouth is home to Devon’s largest ever fatberg, but what is a ‘fatberg’?
South West Water has confirmed that the town has one building up in the sewers under the Esplanade – estimated to measure some 64 metres, longer than six double decker buses.
A fatberg is defined as a very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.
Among the biggest ever found was in London in 2017, when Thames Water was faced with a 130 tonne fatberg clogging up the sewers under Whitechapel in London.
Depending on the size it can take weeks or even months to remove.
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Left untreated, the fatberg would lead to major blockages in the sewage network as waste cannot flow through to the treatment works and would be forced back up to where it came from.
As the phenomenon becomes more common, work is being carried out to turn fatbergs into pure green fuel.
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In 2014, sanitation workers had to clear a fatberg after a collection of waste, fat, wet wipes, food, tennis balls and wood planks the size of Boeing 747 aircraft were discovered in a drain beneath Shepherd’s Bush.