Giant Sewer Monster “Fatberg” Gets a Green Makeover

What do you call a 130 ton mass of waste products the length of 2 football fields found in the sewer system? It sounds like the beginning of a joke but this is no laughing matter. In London, England, people call the enormous mass of waste blocking the sewer systems a “Fatberg.” That’s because, in addition to being made up of diapers, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, this gigantic sewer clot is about 90 percent fat.

Caused by people flushing or dumping oil, cooking grease, plastic bags, diapers, wet wipes, sanitary napkins and other items down the toilet or sewer, the Fatberg story is the story of our throwaway culture—where we use a steady supply of disposable items and dump them into the sewer system so we don’t have to deal with them.

An autopsy of the London sewer fatberg found that it contained those obvious ingredients but it also found some shocking ingredients too. Cooking fat made up 90 percent of the sample tested but it also contained prohibited gym supplements, street drugs like cocaine and ecstasy (MDMA), pharmaceutical drugs, ingredients from topical acne creams, as well as condoms, needles and a surprising array of bacteria. Some of the bacteria discovered include: listeria, campylobacter and E. coli. The harmful bacteria not only pose a risk to the workers trying to clear the grease beast, they may also pose a threat to people if sewers back up and flood homes or businesses in the area.

While the news of the Fatberg certainly presents a daunting cleanup task for those people involved in the project, it’s not entirely bad news. That’s because the 130 ton mass of waste products found in the sewers beneath London, England in 2017 is going to get a makeover. Scientists discovered they could chip the 820-foot long mass into blocks and repurpose it. The Fatberg is going to be turned into a fairly clean biodiesel that will create approximately 2600 gallons of biofuel, or about enough fuel to power 350 buses for a day.

The United Kingdom-based water supplier Thames Water released a statement revealing their analysis and conclusions that the grease monster could get a makeover and be converted and used as a type of green fuel. That sounds like a far superior option than to blocking the sewers and causing flooding and, potentially, disease.

Conducted in collaboration with Argent Energy, Thames Water is trying to educate people through their “Bin it—don’t block it” campaign which aims to get people to properly dispose of their garbage rather than flush it down the toilet. And, there’s definitely room in there for us all to improve our recycling efforts.

Instead of dumping those leftover antibiotics, wet wipes, sanitary napkins down the toilet or pour that leftover cooking grease down the drain and contributing to fatbergs in your area, commit to making better choices and improving the health of our planet. We need to make a significantly better effort to avoid all the problems linked to fatbergs and the potentially life-threatening bacteria they can harbor.

We need to take responsibility for the Frankenstein-like grease monster we’re creating from our gross negligence and lack of consideration for Mother Earth. It’s time we all work toward a better, cleaner world where the newest and greasiest member of our planet never happens again.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. 



Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Winn Adams
Winn A6 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B7 months ago


Paulo R
Paulo R7 months ago


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson8 months ago

Thank you!

Leo C
Leo C8 months ago

Thank you for posting!

Delia F
Delia F8 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S8 months ago


Leo Custer
Leo C8 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Cathy B
Cathy B8 months ago

Eeeuw :(