London's Hardworking Squads of Fatberg-Busters

When London’s sewer system was built in the mid-19th century, it was a infrastructure wonder, leaving the city cleaner and safer, and was designed to accommodate the city’s growth. Then the city grew much larger than anyone predicted, and modern living presents problems for a sewer system that no one could have foreseen. The monster in the sewer these days is the fatberg. When calcium-rich water meets fats or oil (including some soaps), it will solidify. A chunk gets caught on a corroded pipe or a piece of trash, and other chunks join it. The growing fatberg captures wet wipes, menstrual products, and other items of trash as it grows. Eventually, the mass will restrict or totally clog even the largest sewer pipes.

On any given night, there may be hundreds of workers battling dozens of fatbergs in London’s sewers. They  use high-power water jets, vacuums, shovels, pickaxes, and sometimes even their hands. It’s dirty, dark, and dangerous work, but someone’s gotta do it. Read about the ongoing battle against fatbergs at Atlas Obscura.

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Source: neatorama

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