03:48PM, Tuesday 15 March 2016
Fatbergs weighing as much as a double decker bus are wreaking havoc in the Royal Borough, Thames Water has revealed.
Windsor and Maidenhead has been labelled a ‘hotspot’ for the problem by the company which treats sewage from more than 15 million people across the Thames Valley and London.
Fatbergs are formed when leftover cooking fat and wet wipes congeal into a solid mass in sewers, causing them to back up into people’s homes and gardens, costing Thames Water £1m a month to clear.
In the last three years, 3,774 blockages have been reported in the Royal Borough - an average of more than 100 blockages a month.
In July, businesses in Maidenhead complained of losing customers due to the ‘King Street stink’, which was found to have been caused by a fatberg.
Last month, a Thames Water team spent 90 hours clearing fat from a 450 metre stretch of sewer pipe under Thames Street in Windsor. The fatberg, which was removed using high-pressure water jets, weighed roughly the same as a double decker bus.
Thames Water launched a campaign yesterday (Monday) in a bid to tackle the problem, urging its customers to ‘Bin it- don’t block it’ when it comes to anything other than toilet paper and human waste.
More than 64,000 customers will be told how to order a free ‘fat trap’ to stop it going down the sink, with billboards and bus stop posters also being put up in the borough.
Thames Water’s sewer operations specialist for Berkshire, Bob Cunningham, said: “Cleaning pots and pans with washing up liquid does not break down fat, oil and grease for good. When it hits the cold sewers, it clings to wet wipes and hardens into gruesome fatbergs which cause blockages in the pipes.
“Wet wipes aren’t the only problem – we often find condoms, nappies, tights, tampons, cotton buds and syringes in fatbergs too.
“The more fatbergs there are the more damage they cause, which inevitably results in us having to dig up roads to fix broken sewers – all of this causes disruption to our customers, and ultimately makes an impact on customer bills.”
Visit www.thameswater.co.uk/binit for more information about the campaign.
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