Ever since London’s most unlikely celebrity, the Whitechapel fatberg, drew headlines in 2017, the UK has had something of a morbid curiosity with the mammoth-sized clumps of gunk lurking in our sewer system.
The latest fatberg to do the rounds is a 64-meter (210-foot) beast found in Sidmouth, Devon – the largest of its kind to be found by local water provider South West Water (SWW). To put it into perspective, this particular monstrosity is about 8 meters (26 feet) longer than the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tall.
Fortunately for residents of and visitors to the sea-facing town of Sidmouth, authorities located the 'berg “in good time” and long before it posed any kind of risk to beachgoers or risked blocking any toilets, BBC News reports.
Fatbergs are an abominable concoction of human excrement, sanitary products, drugs, contraceptives, and other insoluble products covered in congealed fat, forged from products that have been carelessly flushed down the bog. As IFLScience reported in 2017, Thames Water forks out more than $1 million every single month to remove the swarm of fatbergs plaguing the UK capital thanks to residents' willful disregard for proper waste management practice.
We won’t find out the weight of the Sidmouth fatberg until the unfortunate men and women at SWW start to work on removing it. However, it’s unlikely to come anywhere close to the one found in Whitechapel, cheerfully nicknamed “Fatty McFatberg”, which came in at 130 tonnes (143 tons) and a jaw-dropping 250 meters (820 feet) tip-to-tip. It took a dedicated team of eight working every day for several weeks to break it down with the help of some high-powered jet hoses.
But even that beast of a fatberg pales in comparison to one found close to the South Bank in central London last April, a 750-meter-long (2,460-foot) monster. That is roughly twice the height of the Empire State Building – and three times the size of its record-breaking predecessor, Fatty McFatberg.
The latest discovery shows that fatbergs are a much larger problem that we thought – and even country dwellers aren't safe from the horrors that plague urban centers. The moral of the story – think before you flush.