Condoms, syringes and ‘fatbergs’ block Bromley sewers 6,000 times since 2013

PUBLISHED: 14:13 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:13 31 March 2016

Nearly 6,000 blockages were cleared in Bromley in the last three years

Nearly 6,000 blockages were cleared in Bromley in the last three years


Thames Water is raising awareness of the sewage problem

Bromley has been branded a hotspot for ‘fatbergs’ - balls of congealed fats blocking the borough’s sewers.

Thames Water, which treats sewage from more than 15million people in London and the Thames Valley identified Bromley as one of the worst offenders.

Since 2013, 5,810 blockages had to be cleared by the company.

Fatbergs, formed when leftover cooking fat and wet wipes congeal into a solid mass, cost Thames Water £1million a month to clear.

Sewer operations specialist for Bromley, David Theobald, said: “Every day my team spend hours removing these blockages which increase wear and tear on the pipes.

“The more fatbergs there are the more damage they cause, which inevitably results in us having to dig up roads to fix broken sewers - all of this causes disruption to our customers, and ultimately makes an impact on customer bills.”

Thames Water has launched a widespread campaign urging customers to bin waste that isn’t toilet paper or human waste.

Mr Theobald explained some of the things found in Bromley’s sewers.

He said: “Wet wipes aren’t the only problem - we often find condoms, nappies, tights, tampons, cotton buds and syringes in fatbergs too.”

Thames Water’s head of customer field services, Jerry White, explained the issue with ever “flushable” wipes:

He said: “Many will be labelled as “flushable” and they may disappear when you flush the toilet, but they don’t break down once they get into the sewer pipes.

“These wipes seem to be in most of our homes now so we all have a responsibility to do the right thing and put them in the bin.

“Blockages will often lead to sewage flooding homes, businesses and the environment and in the borough of Bromley this is a regular occurrence.

“It is damaging, hugely distressing and, in many cases, avoidable. We hope our campaign will educate people and encourage them to ‘Bin it – don’t block it’. We’ve got thousands of fat traps to give away so order yours now.”

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