The Sidmouth fatberg

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Something is lurking under Sidmouth.

Devon’s largest ever fatberg has been discovered in a Sidmouth sewer under The Esplanade.

Longer than six back-to-back double-decker buses at 64 metres in length, it is the biggest discovered in our service history and thought to be one of the largest found so close to the sea.

It is formed from everything that has been flushed or poured down the sinks of Sidmouth that shouldn’t have been, including wet wipes and fat, oil and grease.


Stop the block

Fortunately, the fatberg has had no impact on Sidmouth’s excellent bathing water quality and has been discovered in good time. But it doesn’t always end this way. Every time a wet wipe is flushed or oil poured down the drain, there is a risk these items could cause sewer blockages. This is extremely unpleasant and could happen in your own home. We tackle dozens of new sewer blockages every day, which adds £4.5million to bills every year.

Stop the block by only flushing the 3Ps – pee,  paper and poo – and  by not pouring fat, oil and grease (FOG) down the drain.

The removal

It will take our sewer team around eight weeks to remove it from the sewer under some exceptionally challenging conditions. It’s the first time we have excavated a fatberg of this size and the confined space might mean it takes us a little longer or shorter.

The removal will begin on Monday 4 February but heavy rain could delay the start date as we need to ensure our workers can enter the sewer safely. 

How will it be removed?

Alongside high-pressure jets and specialist equipment, our sewer workers will endure weeks of manual labour, attacking the fatberg bit by bit with shovels and pickaxes.

Will this affect local businesses?

Fortunately, the impact on Sidmouth will be minimal and all businesses will remain open. We will be maintaining access for the nearby boat club.

Can I still visit the seafront?

Yes, you can still visit the seafront. We will be working on a secure compound in the far corner of The Esplanade which will affect a turning circle only.

The nearby coastal path will remain open.

What about the bathing waters?

Fortunately, the fatberg and its removal will have no impact on bathing waters, but it might not have ended this way. Please don’t pour fat, oil or grease down the sink and only flush the 3Ps – pee  paper and poo.

How can you help?

If you keep just one new year’s resolution this year, let it be to not pour fats, oil or grease down the drain or flush anything other than the 3Ps – pee,  paper and poo – down  the loo.

Learn about ThinkSink here

Learn about LoveYourLoo here