When Thames Water needed help to prevent major flooding in an affluent London suburb, CountyClean were called in with specialist equipment to remove the blockage, an enormous fatberg, and clean the Victorian sewer. The lorry-sized lump of wrongly flushed festering food fat mixed with other paper debris formed a solid blockage in drains under London Road in Kingston, Surrey.
The source of the fatberg, believed to be from commercial premises, if not removed, could have led to sewage flooding many homes, streets and businesses in the leafy London suburb.
Workmen used an extremely high-pressure jet hose to blast away the massive blockage – but the size of the ‘fatberg’ meant it took them 10 nights of graft.
“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.”
Gordon Hailwood, waste contracts supervisor for Thames Water said: “While we’ve removed greater volumes of fat from under central London in the past, we’ve never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before. Given we’ve got the biggest sewers and this is the biggest fatberg we’ve encountered, we reckon it has to be the biggest such berg in British history. The sewer was almost completely clogged with over 15 tonnes of fat. If we hadn’t discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston.”
Gordon added, “It was so big it damaged the sewer and repairs will take up to six weeks. Homes and businesses need to change their ways, when it comes to fat and wipes, please remember: ‘Bin it – don’t block it.’”
The blockage was discovered after residents in nearby flats complained that they couldn’t flush their toilets. CCTV investigations carried out by CountyClean in London Road found the mound of fat had reduced the 70x48cm sewer to just five per cent of its normal capacity.
Thames Water will begin repairs to 20 metres of damaged pipe on Monday August 5 and work is expected to take up to six weeks to complete. Traffic management will be in place and two lanes of London Road will be closed westbound between Coombe Road and Cambridge Road.
For information on services from CountyClean, please visit http://countycleanenvironmental.co.uk/