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Monday, 13 August 2018

Fatberg Facts

Water companies spend millions of pounds every year clearing blockages from the sewers beneath our cities.

The biggest ever fatberg, found in 2017 beneath Whitechapel Road in East London, was filled with congealed fat, wet wipes and nappies. This fatbert was 10 times larger than the one found in a sewer in Kingston, London, in 2013.

It is estimated that 90% of eateries in London are contributing to the problem by failing to install grease traps, the report found. As a result, grease, oil and food scraps washed off plates, utensils and saucepans are finding their way into pipes and drains.

Stephen Pattenden, sewer network manager for Thames Water said: “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.”

Food outlets have already been given advise on how to dispose of fat and food waste whilst commercial kitchens have been advisded on grease-trapping equipment specifically for commercial kitchens.

Pattenden also said that restaurants that failed to install grease traps and other measures faced prosecution if they didn’t make required changes.

Thames Water says it spends about £1million a month clearing blockages from its sewers in London and the Thames Valley – an average of three fat-related blockages every hour. So it's understandable that they are advising on the use of grease traps and prosecuting against those companies who don't make changes.

Fatberg Facts

Length - 250 meters which is the same as:

  • Tower Bridge in London
  • 2 football pitches

Weight - 130 tonnes which is the same as:

  • 11 double decker buses
  • 19 adult African elephants
  • 2 Airbus A318 aeroplanes


  • Wet wipes (primarily from domestic properties)
  • Nappies (again usually from domestic properties)
  • Sanitary items (from domestic properties)
  • Foot scraps (primarily from commercial kitchens and food outlets)
  • Fat, oil and grease (from commercial kitchens and food outlets)

If you would like to talk through the options for installing an underground or overground commercial grease trap please fee free to give us a call on 0800 975 7971 or click here to read about our Kessel range of grease separators.

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