Restaurants fuelling sewer 'fatbergs'

Photo: Thames Water

The majority of London's restaurants and takeaways are feeding sewer-clotting "fatbergs" by letting grease, oil and scraps slide down their waste systems. Thames Water visited hundreds of food outlets in the capital and found nine in ten had no system for dealing with the excess gunk.

Credit: ITV News

Thames Water spends around a million pounds a month cleaning sewers and says its findings are staggering. On Whitechapel Road, where a 130-tonne blockage was recently discovered, it was discovered that no restaurants had a working grease-trap.

We're not suggesting anyone intentionally pours the contents of a fat fryer down the drain, but it's more about the gunk that comes from dirty plates, pots and pans. A simple, well maintained grease-trap will capture that stuff and stop it entering the sewer and turning into a monster fatberg.

– Stephen Pattenden, Thames Water

Fatbergs are caused by oil, fat and grease merging with wet wipes and other unflushable products. Thames Water says it is funding a PhD student to study the fatty formations, including looking at ways to turn the waste into renewable energy.