In January this year, one of the largest so-called ‘fatbergs’ was discovered blocking the sewer of a British seaside town

The 64-metre-long fatberg – made up of toilet paper, wet wipes and congealed cooking fat – was found to be blocking the sewer in the resort town of Sidmouth in southwestern England, by the local water firm South West Water.

“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,” said Andrew Roantree, director of waste water at South West Water.

A fatberg forms like a snowball, as wet-wipes flushed down toilets, and cooking fats, oil and grease congeal together, gradually forming a hard mass. Fatbergs can block mains sewers, some of which are wide enough to drive a bus through.

Europe is not the only country struggling with ‘fatbergs’

According to a report in the Washington Post, the rise in reports of fatbergs and other blockages mirrors the growth in flushable wipes, and use of excessive fat in cooking. From 2013 to 2018, the moist toilet wipes market grew 36 per cent globally, worth around $1.1 billion today. About half of the market is in the U.S., according to Euromonitor International.

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In the video above, Australian authorities describe how they are also struggling to control the effects of ‘fatbergs’ in their sewerage systems.

Author: ANA Newswire and A4W Staff