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The largest fatbergs ever found in the UK

Updated: Jun 4

Congealed fats, wipes, cat litter and even concrete are found in your typical fatberg. They’re also usually relatively small and can be cleared with rods or, in the event they’re larger, a jetter will normally get the job done.

Sometimes, though, fatbergs can be so gargantuan that teams of people and weeks or months are needed to clear them. Clearing these blockages is also back-breaking work so spare a thought for the poor drainage pros responsible for clearing these monsters:

Birchall Street, Liverpool, 2019

The behemoth of congealed waste discovered under Birchall Street in Liverpool in 2019 has been reported as weighing up to 400 tonnes and ran through 250 metres of the city’s sewers.

It may have disc

The Birchall Street Fatberg

overed in early 2019, but it took more than two years to clear this colossus – and only after the development of a new and innovative technique.

Whilst the original plan was to gradually chip away at the ‘berg’ it soon became clear that this would take too long. The blockage was eventually cleared when workers fed a steel rope through it, allowing them to jet it from the inside. Prior to this, many had argued that replacing the sewer system was the only way the problem could be solved.

Hodge Hill, Birmingham, 2021

Workers clearing the Hodge Hill Fatberg

Weighing in at 300 tonnes, the fatberg discovered in the Hodge Hill area of Birmingham was as big as two blue whales! It also wreaked havoc on residents who reported an unpleasant smell on the street and when running their taps.

Discovered in April 2021, it took operatives three months and 520 hours of jetting to clear the blockage.

Whitechapel, London, 2017

Stretching across more than 250 metres of our capital city, the Whitechapel fatberg also weighed an astonishing 130 tonnes, took nine weeks to clear and was even the subject of an exhibition that ran from February to July 2018 in the Museum of London.

Part of the Whitechapel Fatberg was put on display in the Museum of London

Thames Water dedicated a team of eight to the task, with the last portion of the berg needing to be cleared manually with shovels. Following this team successfully having cleared the sewer, Thames Water’s waste network manager Alex Saunders told the BBC that “[the] beast is finally defeated.”

Dublin Road, Belfast, 2017

There may be no official weight for the Dublin Road fatberg that was discovered under Belfast in 2017, but it was estimated to weigh “a few hundred tonnes” and was comprised of some truly horrific stuff!

The Dublin Road Fatberg contained grease from nearby takeaways and fast food restaurants

Dublin Road is home to numerous takeaways and fast food restaurants, with Northern Ireland Water’s network sewerage manager at the time, Gavin McCready having noted “While most businesses use grease traps and bin their waste correctly, those that don’t are contributing to a massive fatberg in the sewers around the area.”

So, whilst you’re out working in the British winter remember, it could be worse!

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