A water company was forced to hire a special robot from Holland to clear a giant ‘fatberg’ from a Houghton Regis sewer pipe.
Anglian Water had to call in a high-powered jet mounted on a remote controlled robot, which took several days to unblock the pipe.
The enormous fatberg, which was around 330ft in length and 225mm thick, was taking up half the width of the sewer pipe.
In total the ten day programme, which included other equipment and labour costs, racked up a £30,000 bill.
The gruesome fatberg was one of 30,000 sewer blockages a year in East Anglia - 80 per cent of which are caused by wipes and fats.
Anglian Water has now made an urgent appeal for homeowners to stop pouring such substances down the sink, after the equivalent of eight Olympic sized swimming pools full of fat makes its way into East Anglia’s sewers each year.
It says it cost the company £15m a year to unblock sewers clogged by fatbergs.
Nik Shelton, spokesperson for Anglian Water, explained how blockages in the pipe caused flooding in the area.
He said: “This pipe has been an ongoing problem for us and there have been flooding incidents in the area as a result. When fat gets poured down plugholes it congeals and sticks to the sewers creating blockages.
“We have used our own jetting equipment many times to clear this pipe, but now some of the fat has hardened meaning we needed to bring this ultra high powered jet in to clear it.
“We hope that our customers will see this and understand the problems fats in our sewer system cause.
“If you have any left over grease or fat from cooking, our advice is to allow it to cool and solidify before scraping it into your bin or recycling caddy.”
This was the first time the company had used the remote controlled machine, which was supplied by Anglian Water’s partners Draincare.