How do we overcome the fatberg sewer issue?

In London, approximately 198,129,000 gallons of raw sewage overflows into the Thames every week according to Tideway. This is due to the sewer system not being able to handle the amount of waste that is flushed every second of every day. The current 150 year old sewer system is disintegrating in parts due to the dilemma that is the ‘fatberg’ and it being designed for a population half its size.

A fatberg is a congealed lump of matter in a sewer system, formed by the combination of non-biodegradable waste that is put into drains and sewer systems, such as wet wipes coagulated with grease or cooking fat.

The last fatberg that hit London weighed an almighty 139.15 tonnes; hence some major investment in the sewer system. Currently work is under way which is aimed to be completed by 2023 to build a £5 billion, 20 mile long super sewer under the Thames, designed for safe removal of the sewage.

T-T Pump’s is a manufacturer and supplier of pumps, valves and pumping stations for sewage and drainage waste and therefore we aim to educate our customers on what you can and what you cannot flush. We go by the three p’s; pee, poo and paper (toilet). These are the only items that should be flushed down the toilet.

So, how do you dispose of the other items that you might have flushed or put down the drain in the past?
Cooking Fat

Allow the fat to cool and solidify, the scrape it out; wrap it into some newspaper or tin foil and dispose of it in your appropriate bin. Alternatively, pour it into a suitable container and when it has cooled throw it in the appropriate bin.

Sanitary towels, tampons and panty liners

Wrap well and place them in the appropriate bin. Special disposal bags are available at pharmacies and supermarkets. In public toilets place them in the sanitary disposal bin provided.

Condoms, incontinence pads, used plasters and bandages

Wrap well and place them in the appropriate bin.

Disposal nappies, liners and wipes

Wrap well and place in an appropriate bin. Nappy disposal bags are available in supermarkets.

Razor blades

To avoid injury, place razor blades in a solid container before placing in the bin.


Return all unused medicines to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. Always keep medicines out of the reach of children, even when disposed of.

Used syringes and needles

Needles and syringes should be taken to your nearest disposal bank. Your doctor or pharmacy should be able to find your nearest disposal bank.

Ear buds and flossing sticks

Dispose of in appropriate bin. Plastic is a worldwide issue and things like ear buds and flossing sticks can break down into small fibres and make their way through the water system.

All other waste

Wrap well, if necessary, and dispose of safely in your bin. For all other liquids and items contact your local council for details of your nearest household waste recycling centre.

What can we do?

In order for the United Kingdom to overcome the fatberg issue we need to ensure only the correct waste the sewer is designed for is getting into the system.

This nationwide issue can also cause problems for pumping station owners, pumping stations are designed to pump away sewerage to the nearest sewer system. When items that are not designed for flushing are put into the drainage system, it can cause blockages in the pumps which result in costly repairs.

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