A 16-Ton Ball of Lard Was Just Found in a London Sewer | Smart News | Smithsonian
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A 16-Ton Ball of Lard Was Just Found in a London Sewer

Don't flush cooking grease, okay?

smithsonian.com

London’s lovely fatberg. Photo: CountyClean

When residents of a London neighborhood had trouble flushing their toilets, many of them likely had no idea that this seemingly simple plumbing problem was a harbinger of something far, far more horrible. Deep beneath their homes, in the pipes that transport their waste away, something awful was lurking. A “fatberg,” says the Thames Water Utilities: 16.5 tons of fat and moist towelettes. Like an artery stuffed with plaque can lead to a heart attack, the tons and tons of fat clogging up London’s sewers were slowly choking the city.

“CCTV investigations in London Road found the mound of fat had reduced the 70x48cm sewer to just five per cent of its normal capacity,” says Thames Water.

The gross ball of lard was the biggest they’d ever seen clumped up at once, said the utility, but it most certainly is not the first. Back in 2010 Gawker wrote about a similar mess, when “1,000 tons of cooking fat” had to be chopped off the sewer’s walls. And, because you totally want it, here’s some video of that previous mess:

“Thames Water deals with fatbergs all the time,” says the Associated Press. “But the company said Tuesday it was sharing news of the massive lard lump in hopes that customers will think twice about what they dump down the drain.”

More from Smithsonian.com:

Sewer Workers Find Dinosaur Bone Stash Under Edmonton
Quite Likely the Worst Job Ever
What’s Blocking Your Drain?

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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