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This blockage consists of wet wipes and fat
Sept 18th 2017
A “monster” fatberg weighing 130 tonnes that was discovered beneath London is going to be converted into 10,000 litres of biodiesel.
The 250m-long congealed mass, which weighs the same as 11 double-decker buses, will be harvested into enough fuel to power one of those Routemasters for an entire year, Thames Water said.
Engineers are still working in the sewers under Whitechapel Road in east London to remove the gigantic gelatinous lump of wet wipes, nappies, fat and oil.
Thames Water expects to finish the job in October – before sending off all the gloop to a specialist plant where elements of it will be transformed into the green diesel alternative.
Waste network manager Alex Saunders said: “It may be a monster, but the Whitechapel fatberg deserves a second chance.
“We’ve therefore teamed up with leading waste to power firm Argent Energy to transform what was once an evil, gut-wrenching, rancid blob into pure green fuel.
Video: Massive fatberg blocks east London sewer (Sky News)
“It’s the perfect solution for the environment and our customers as we work towards our target to self-generate 33 per cent of the electricity we use from renewable sources by 2020.
“It also means the Whitechapel fatberg will get a new lease of life as renewable, biodegradable fuel powering an engine instead of causing the misery of sewer flooding.”
Work to remove the fatberg started this week and involves an eight-man crew using jet hoses to break it up before sucking it out into tankers.
They are removing about 20 to 30 tonnes per shift, working nine hours a day, seven days a week.
The fatberg is more than 10 times bigger than the one in Kingston in 2013 which made national headlines.
The company said it spends about £1 million a month clearing blockages from its sewers.
Head of waste networks Matt Rimmer urged people to think about what they flush down toilets: “The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish.”
Sept 14th 2017
Fatberg blocking London sewer could become museum exhibit
Part of a huge fatberg blocking a 250 metre stretch of London’s sewer network could go on display to the public after the Museum of London expressed an interest in obtaining a section of the 130 tonne mass of waste and fat.
The museum contacted Thames Water about acquiring a section of the congealed block of wet wipes, nappies, fat and oil for their general collection following its discovery in a Victorian sewer in Whitechapel, east London.
Engineers for Thames Water are using shovels and high-powered jets to remove the fatberg, which was found during a routine inspection earlier this month, and is one of the largest ever found in London’s sewer network.
Alex Werner, lead curator for the new museum at the Museum of London, told the Guardian the fatberg “calls to attention the way we live our lives in a modern city”, and said the museum had been interested in acquiring a fatberg after similar discoveries in Kingston and Leicester Square.
He said: “It speaks to the breakdown in London’s infrastructure as we transition between periods. The sewer dates back to the 19th century, and is struggling to cope with the number of high-rise developments and population increases. In 50 years’ time, maybe it will be looked on as a historic artefact, because we’ll have solved this problem.”
The Museum of London curator visited the site of the fatberg in east London on Wednesday and although he did not enter the sewer, he said hiding the fatberg’s smell would be a challenge.He continued: “Our challenge is to think of a way to make it presentable to the public. We need to work out a way we can store it and display it. It’s a bit like a specimen. We need to find a kind of fluid to maintain it for a long time. We have a bit of research yet to do.”
“It’s a horrid smell – fairly pungent. It’s the smell you’d expect from the sewer. I’m back in my office now and I can still smell it around my nose.”
He added: “Thames Water have a really difficult challenge. It’s a bit of a race against time to get rid of the blockage. All the surrounding basements in the area in Whitechapel could flood with sewage.”
Sharon Ament, director at the Museum of London, said: “Our year-long season, City Now City Future, explores what the future holds for people living in urban environments. It is important for the Museum of London to display genuine curiosities from past and present London.
“If we are able to acquire the fatberg for our collection I hope it would raise questions about how we live today and also inspire our visitors to consider solutions to the problems of growing metropolises. This could be one of the most extraordinary objects in any museum collection in London.”
Thames Water says it spends around £1m every month clearing blockages from its sewers in London and the Thames Valley – an average of three fat-related blockages every hour.
Earlier this year, the company announced it was exploring whether it could use recovered fatbergs for biodiesel, but said the eventual solution would have to come from the proper disposal of waste by consumers and businesses.
Sept 18th 2016
Need some soap? What could be better than antibacterial handwash that kills 99.9% of bacteria? Well, ordinary soap, says the FDA in America, which is banning the sale of certain soaps (bars, gels and liquids) containing antibacterial ingredients. It ruled last week that antibacterial soaps containing any of 19 named ingredients will be banned by 2017. The chemicals most under scrutiny are triclosan (in liquids) and triclocarban (in bars). Triclosan is linked to allergies in children and upsets the hormone levels of rats – reducing those of thyroid hormone and increasing oestrogen. Triclocarban is linked to raised male hormone levels and low birth weights in rats.
Dr Rolf Halden, director of the Center for Environmental Security at the Biodesign Institute in Arizona, estimates about 2000 products in the US contain triclosan. Although some manufacturers, knowing about the FDA’s ongoing investigation, have removed it, and triclocarban, from their products before the ban.
Halden says it’s hard to know which products contain the soon-to-be-banned chemicals. These antibacterial agents are called different names – I couldn’t find triclosan or triclocarban in common antibacterial soaps in the UK, and had no response from manufacturers as to their use of any of the other substances banned by the FDA.
However, the FDA is not stopping at soaps. A little bottle of antibacterial gel has become a handbag must-have – to kill nasty germs in the office, playground or on public transport. If you don’t have time to wash your hands, or are nowhere near a sink, a squirt of some pink hand sanitiser while running out the door, or in the great outdoors, has become a common alternative. But the FDA has asked sanitiser manufacturers to provide evidence that the benefits of their products outweigh any risks. They are focusing on the relative benefits or risks of ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and benzalkonium chloride not already on the banned substance list – which are common ingredients in sanitisers (in the UK as well as America).
Antibacterial agents can also promote antibiotic resistance – it’s not desirable to lay waste to all bacteria.
So should you bin the sweet smelling gels and antibacterial soaps?
Bin them. The Centers for Disease and Prevention in America says that washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce germs.
There’s a whole science to washing hands – lathering with soap on the back, front, between your fingers and under your nails. You need to scrub them for the time it takes to sing one round of Happy Birthday. Then you rinse and dry. The temperature of the water does not seem to make a difference to getting rid of germs – although warmer water may be more irritating to hands. Honestly, not many of us do this properly.
If you don’t have soap or water to hand, then hand sanitisers are better than nothing. But their alcohol content must be more than 60% to kill germs effectively.
What’s more, sanitisers don’t even work well on dirty hands – they can’t penetrate grime because you need the friction provided by soap. Soap and water are also better than sanitisers at removing germs such as clostridium difficile (which causes a serious bowel infection). What’s more, Halden says, sanitisers can dry out hands, creating cracks that germs jump into. “In the absence of benefit,” he says, “why take the risk?”
Toilet training the 4W’s
it would be a good idea if everyone followed this rule, bathrooms do not have to be smelly places and the reason they are is usually because people don’t treat them correctly, you should not take anything to read with you when you visit the toilet, this just encourages you to sit and procrastinate, meditate or whatever you like to call it, and there is nothing wrong with this if you have the time and inclination and nobody else wants to use the toilet but you must adopt a hygienic attitude which I can describe best by saying you must use the 4W’s and they are number one whoopsee, number two Wipe, number three woosh it away, number four wash your hands.
The point being there should be no delay between number one and the numbers two and three, if you sit there between number one whoopsee and a number four without doing number two and number three all you are doing is wasting your time and polluting the atmosphere which is something you don’t need and certainly don’t want to do so the rule is do it and flush it quick, if you don’t appreciate the improvement I’m sure your family will.
If this habit is practised by everybody that uses the bathroom you will see a noticeable improvement, after all if it’s on its way to the sewage works you can’t smell it, please do not put wetwipes down the toilet bowl, they do not dissolve and the result is that the main sewer gets blocked and it is a mammoth task to remove the blockage.
It amazes me that some parents do not ensure that their children wash their hands properly after using the toilet, children are always in a rush and they think they're wasting their time washing their hands more than once a day, so it's up to the parents to insist to prevent food poisoning, which is not very pleasant, there are certain rules which have to be obeyed and properly.
It's not sufficient just to wet your fingers, you must clean your hands with soap and do it thoroughly if you don't spend more than a minute doing this simple task then you haven't done it well enough, encourage them to count up to 60 ticking off the seconds.
Make sure they don't rush in from the garden where they have been playing in the dirt and sit straight down to the table thinking they can start their dinner, no food until you clean should be the rule, they won't like it but they'll get used to it, and after a while it will be completely routine.
On the subject of gardens if you have little ones I expect you provide them with a sandpit, make sure that it is always covered when not being used, this is to prevent household pets using it as their toilet, make sure that your pets have full protection from parasites both internal and external, household pets can carry worms, which given half a chance they will leave in your sandpit in their droppings, if your little ones get contaminated with these worms it can lead to blindness.
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