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Wet wipes cause fatberg the size of a 747

The fatberg was the size of a Boeing 747 Credit: Thames Water

Thames Water workers have been blasting a fatberg the length of a Boeing 747 underneath a road in west London. A ‘fatberg’ – a congealed mass of fat, wet wipes and other litter wrongly put down drains and toilets – formed under a 80 metre stretch of Shepherd’s Bush Road.

"A team of sewer experts from the company fought the ‘berg all last week The immense, solid blockage needed to be broken up and removed from the sewer to prevent sewer flooding to nearby homes and business."

– Thames Water

But Shepherd's Bush is far from being the worst offender when it comes to fatbergs. Kingston-on-Thames had a 15-tonne fatberg removed from a sewer last year. But top of the fatberg league is Harrow, with a staggering 13,417 blockages reported in the last five years. Shepherd’s Bush trails behind with just 68.

“Wet wipes cling to the fat. Fat clings to the wipes. And pretty soon your fatberg is out of control and sewage is backing up into roads, gardens and in the worst cases flooding up through toilets and into homes.“We’ve found all sorts in this sewer – from tennis balls to planks of wood . It goes without saying they shouldn’t be in those pipes. London – bin it, don’t block it.”

– Dave Dennis, Thames Water sewer operations manager