90-Tonne Fatberg Found In Liverpool Sewer!

We recently blogged about the wet wipe issue and how these products shouldn’t be sent down the drains unless they’ve passed stringent flushable tests, since they’re a huge contributing factor to the creation of fatbergs in our nation’s sewers.


And now we’ve just heard that supplier United Utilities has found a 90-tonne load of congealed fat in a sewer in Liverpool, a fatberg that stretches 80m long and now has to be hacked out of the pipe on Birchall Street in the city by hand!


Sewer engineers with the water supplier will be armed with picks and shovels in order to get rid of the blockage after traditional high powered water jets proved to be particularly useless in the removal of the huge fatberg. It’s thought it will take up to eight weeks of chipping away in order to get rid of the blockage completely.


Once all the chunks have been removed, they’ll be sent off for recycling into biofuel. In the last 30 to 40 years, these fatbergs have become an increasingly big problem thanks to changes in diet and lifestyle, and what’s being sent down the pipes.


The water industry as a whole spends up to £100 million a year clearing blockages caused by inappropriate items, like wet wipes, being sent down the drains – and customers then have to pay for this through sewerage charges.


United Utilities’ Sam Fox commented on the fatberg news, saying: “The total cost of removing this fatberg will be in excess of £100k and each year we tackle around 28,000 blockages in the sewers which serve the north-west, costing around £10 million.


“There are lots of simple ways to safely dispose of leftover fat or grease, like letting it cool in a container and making sure you only put the three Ps down your toilet – pee, poo and paper.”


When it comes to wet wipes, a new standard has just been developed to help people know what is flushable and what isn’t. If scientific tests are passed successfully, manufacturers will be able to put a water industry Fine to Flush symbol on packaging, important since there are many products out there that are marketed as flushable – when, in fact, the opposite is true.


Water UK chief Michael Roberts described this as an “important step” in the fight against fatbergs and other blockages, with environmental improvements at the heart of what the water industry does.


A recent BBC Radio 4 Costing The Earth investigation revealed that wet wipes being marketed and sold as flushable were actually responsible for 93 per cent of all sewer blockages in the UK… so this move certainly seems to be a very welcome one indeed.


Do you need the help of water management consultants? Get in touch with us here at H2O Building Services today to find out what we can do for you and your business.