Have you ever just washed bacon grease down the drain instead of disposing of it properly? I’ll admit it. I have. I keep a used jar with a lid under my sink to dispose of bacon grease or oil that I’ve cooked food in, but every once in a while, the lazy side of me wins out and I let it go down the disposal.
I have a feeling some people in London have been doing the same. Utility workers found a huge blob in a London sewer earlier this year, for example, measuring 820 feet long (250 meters) and weighing 143 tons (130 metric tons). Made of oil, fat, diapers and baby wipes, it took weeks to break up with high-powered hoses.
And now, as the Associated Press reports, a shoebox-sized chunk of this blob will be displayed at the Museum of London in early 2018. While most of the sewer blockage was converted to biofuel, the remaining chunk was air-dried to reduce its stench, and will be "one of the most fascinating and disgusting objects we have ever had on display," museum curator Vyki Sparkes tells the AP.
This may be disgusting, but it's also a useful reminder. These lumps of sewer fat have become relatively common in recent years, with multiple blockages occurring every day in parts of London's sewer system, according to Thames Water. They've even been given a name, "fatberg," like an iceberg made of fat. In 2013, workers in a London sewer also discovered a 15-ton fatberg about the size of a bus.
That’s just really gross: lard and dirty baby wipes congealed together until they grow large enough to clog a sewer. Fatbergs can cause damage to sewer lines, and are often discovered after people in the area report having trouble flushing their toilets.
This news is just what I need to make sure I’ll dispose of my bacon grease and cooking oil properly all the time now. How about you?
Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was originally published in August 2013.