Fringe Box



Letter: Just Who Is At Fault When a Fatberg Forms In Your Sewer?

Published on: 23 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 23 Dec, 2020

From: Jim Allen

Thames Water is again blaming householders for their failings to maintain their foul-water pipes under section 94 of the Water Industry Act to “cleanse, maintain and keep flowing”.

A fatberg is formed by saponification [conversion of fat, oil, or lipid, into soap and alcohol by the action of heat in the presence of aqueous alkali], so every time you use the loo and wash your plates the contents mix in the sewers and can form a solid.

More than 2,000 years ago, the Romans recognised that sewers required regular cleaning.

To generate 130 tonnes of fatberg at a normal rate of fat usage will take more than 40 years, near enough the same time since Thames Water took over the local sewers.

In Texas, their contract at Fort Worth specifies that all pipes should be cleaned within eight years and syphons every two.

Here, in 2017, a syphon was discovered under the Wey Navigation which Thames Water did not know existed. It had not been opened for 40 years. This failure to maintain resulted in 5,500 homes being without a flowing sewer for 33 days.

So folks, please don’t put things down the drains but don’t blame yourself if they back up. It is purely and simply caused by OFWAT’s agreement with the water undertakers that sewers don’t need cleaning because it is too expensive.

See: Burpham Sewer Remains Blocked – Residents Enduring Noxious Smells And other related stories here.

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Responses to Letter: Just Who Is At Fault When a Fatberg Forms In Your Sewer?

  1. Paul Robinson Reply

    December 29, 2020 at 9:51 am

    In Weylea Avenue there is a Thames Water (TW) foul water sewer that has blocked at least once a year for years. I know it because of the tell-tale gurgling from my kitchen sink, fortunately the noise is my early warning before any damage is done to my property. It woke me up at about six am the other week.

    I just go out take a look at the upstream manhole to see if water is seeping out (and down the surface water sewer) and then get on to TW. I once asked the TW contractors what the problem was and they said it was tree roots that had got into the pipe. TW has taken no action to fix the “root” of the problem they just prefer to get their customers to report the problem every time and then spend time and money getting a crew out to fix it again.

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