A ‘fatberg’ clogging a London sewer is longer than two football fields and weighs more than 10 buses

A view of the 130-ton blob of congealed grease and waste that is clogging a section of London’s sewer system.

Talk about dirty jobs.

Crews in London are waging a three-week sewer war against an enormous ‘‘fatberg’’ — a solid mass of congealed oil, diapers, hand wipes and other unsavory items — that is clogging a Victorian-era sewer in Whitechapel, London, according to a news release from British utilities company Thames Water.

It’s more than 250 yards long, longer than two football fields. And it weighs 130 tons, more than 10 average buses.


And it’s solid as a rock.

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A crew of eight people is attempting to break the mass up using high-powered jet hoses. After it’s in pieces, they’ll suction it into tankers and bring it to a nearby recycling plant for disposal.

The process is expected to take three weeks.

‘‘It’s basically like trying to break up concrete,’’ Thames Water’s head of waste networks, Matt Rimmer, said in the news release.

The Museum of London says it is trying to acquire a chunk of the fatberg.


Fatbergs form when people dispose of cooking oil and other fats through their sinks and toilets. When the oil gets into the sewer, it often congeals with other waste that isn’t meant to be flushed, such as diapers or wet wipes.

‘‘It’s frustrating, as these situations are totally avoidable and caused by fat, oil, and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo,’’ Rimmer said.

While not uncommon, the size of this particular fatberg is stunning, perhaps even record-breaking. Rimmer urged everyone to be cautious when it comes to flushing.

‘‘When it comes to preventing fatbergs, everyone has a role to play,’’ he said. ‘‘Yes a lot of the fat comes from food outlets but the wipes and sanitary items are far more likely to be from domestic properties. The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish.’’