London water authority Thames Water has discovered what it calls the UK's largest "fatberg;" a mushy deposit of congealed fat and sanitary wipes. Found in a sewer in Kingston, South West London, the fatberg was roughly the size of a bus, and weighed 15 tons. "We've never seen a single, congealed lump of lard this big clogging our sewers before," says Gordon Hallwood, supervisor at Thames Water. The blockage was discovered after local residents reported being unable to flush their toilets.
The horrific deposit was so large that it's taken the sewer in question out of action. Before it was removed, it had reduced the sewer's capacity to just five percent of its regular level, and the damage it caused will take six weeks to repair. "If we hadn't discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston." Thames Water has been pleading with Londoners to not dispose of fat and wipes through their drains. It removes tons of fat from London sewers every month at a great cost to customers, and has recently started using the fat to generate electricity.