Sewers are not attractive places, even at the best of times.

But when a sewer is clogged with 15 tons of congealed grease, they become downright disgusting. Yet as the BBC reports, that’s exactly what happened in a sewer in London recently, where environmental remediation specialists CountyClean removed a bus-sized “fatberg” that had reduced the sewer to just 5 percent of its normal capacity, and caused damage that will take up to six weeks to repair. (These blockages can also cause flooding and even sewer geysers if left unchecked!)

A 'fatberg' in a London sewer

Photo: CountyClean

Consisting of food grease, baby wipes and trash — not to mention the other stuff that you’d expect in a sewer — CountyClean spokesperson Rob Smith told the BBC that it was made of “everything that goes into the sewer and lots of things that shouldn’t.” (That's it, pictured above.)

Here’s footage from CountyClean’s own CCTV cameras, which provide an “insider’s view” of the problem.

There is, however, a silver lining to this ominous, greasy cloud. As PRI reported back in April, work is underway to create a plant that will turn London’s “fatbergs” into usable power.

The main purchaser of that power? Sewer and water utility Thames Water, of course.

Still, fatberg power plant or not, we’d be better off if we wasted less, composted more, and didn’t flush the wrong things down the toilet.

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