UK sewer blocked by 300 tonne 'fatberg'

Benjamin CooperAAP
Fatbergs form when oil poured down drains combines with non-biodegradable items such as wet wipes.
Camera IconFatbergs form when oil poured down drains combines with non-biodegradable items such as wet wipes. Credit: AP

A "monster" fatberg thought to weigh some 300 tonnes is blocking a sewer beneath the English city of Birmingham.

Water services company Severn Trent said its staff were working around the clock to clear the blockage, which it referred to as "giant" and a "monster", located about six kilometres east of the city centre in Hodge Hill.

Despite these efforts, the firm said the fatberg was not expected to be cleared until June.

Fatbergs are formed when oil, grease and fat poured down drains combine with non-biodegradable items such as wet wipes, nappies and cotton buds.

"Our advice is to always leave leftover cooking fat to cool, before disposing of it in the bin and to stick to only flushing the three P's (pee, poo and toilet paper) and bin anything else," Severn Trent operations manager Scott Burgin said on Saturday.

"These relatively small changes can make a big difference and hopefully avoid any future fatbergs."

The company said that in the past year it had been called out to thousands of blockages across the region, of which three quarters were caused by people misusing the sewer system.

It was alerted to the fatberg by sewer sensors which monitor for rising water levels.

If an alert is triggered, a team of engineers respond to investigate and clear any blockages forming before customers are impacted.

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