A 64-metre monster fatberg claimed to be the largest in Devon has successfully been removed.
South West Water said the fatberg, made up of hardened fat, oil and wet wipes, was found under the Esplanade in Sidmouth just before Christmas.
Work to remove it started in February and finished last week after workers entered the sewer via a manhole wearing a full breathing apparatus because of dangerous gases in the pipe and used specialist jetting equipment and manual labour to break up the fatberg before it was loaded onto tankers.
A total of 36 tanker loads – each 3,000 gallons – of debris were excavated and removed by a team of seven specialists.
The fatberg was then taken to a local sewage treatment facility where it was fed into the anaerobic digester and produced energy to power the plant.
South West Water said it deals with around 8,500 blocked sewers every year, which cost around £4.5 million to clear and adds to consumer bills.
Most of the blockages are caused by people inappropriately flushing baby wipes, cleaning wipes, cleansing pads and sanitary products which do not break down in the same way as toiler paper and therefore get glued together by fat, oil and grease that is poured down kitchen drains.
Andrew Roantree, South West Water’s Director of Wastewater said: “The Sidmouth fatberg is the largest discovered in our service history and illustrates how this key environmental issue is not just facing the UK’s biggest cities but our coastal towns as well.
“The fatberg has made headlines all over the world and we really hope that this will help everyone to remember to only flush the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – down the loo and to dispose of fat, oil and grease in the bin not down the sink.”