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'Fatberg' the size of a bus removed from London sewer23rd of August 2013
A 'fatberg' the size of a double-decker bus has been removed from a London sewer - the UK's biggest ever. The 15-tonne mass of festering food fat mixed with wet wipes and sanitary products threatened to send raw sewage spurting onto the streets.
"We've never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before," said Thames Water waste contracts supervisor Gordon Hailwood.
"It was so big it damaged the sewer and repairs will take up to six weeks."The foul blockage was discovered when residents of nearby apartments complained they could not flush their toilets.
Investigators found the 70x48cm sewer had been reduced to just five per cent of its normal capacity.
Workers used a high-pressure jet hose to blast away the massive blockage - but the size of the fatberg meant it took them 10 nights of work.
"Attached to the front of the hose is a stainless steel 'bomb'," explained Graeme Sanderson from CountyClean Environmental Services.
"This works by injecting fresh water backwards at very high pressure.
"This drives the head forwards through any blockages and up the brick sewer cleaning the brickwork and washing blockages backwards."