This job is not for those with a weak stomach. The man in the picture below is Danny Brackley, a sewer flusher. He is shoveling out a “fatberg” from under Leicester Square.
Oil and fat accumulating under the streets of London is apparently causing a bit of an issue. However, the city is going to burn these fatbergs in order to create electricity — about 130 GWh of electricity per year. A power station at Beckton in east London will be the one to burn the fatbergs.
Supposedly, there’s no smoke and no smell from the burning of the fatbergs.
“The water company has agreed to buy 75 GWh of this output to run Beckton sewage works, which serves 3.5 million people, and the nearby desalination plant, operated in times of drought or other emergencies,” BBC notes.
By the way, if you think Danny Brackley is one lonely, sad fatberg shoveler, you’re a bit wrong. There are 40 such shovelers that go around shoveling fatbergs. They clear out about 80,000 blockages a year. The work costs approximately $1.5 million per month.
The fatbergs are created by cooking oil and grease that cools and congeals down in the sewers. However, there’s more in there than that. Rob Smith, Thames Water’s technical coordinator, notes that they contain “everything that goes into the sewer and lots of things that shouldn’t.” Now that a utility has a use for these monsters, it’s going to have “fat traps” installed under the sinks of contributing restaurants.
You have to wonder how many fatbergs are living under the streets of other cities. Will others follow London’s lead?
Check out more “waste to energy” stories here.