It’s common for drains to be blocked by baby wipes, makeup pads and even Yorkshire puddings. However, in April a massive ‘concreteberg’ was discovered under the streets of London.

Weighing as much as 20 elephants, the blockage was around 100 m in length and is blocking 3 sewers in the centre of London.

According to Thames Water, it could cost £150,000 and take a huge two months to remove the concrete from beneath Hall Street in Islington.

‘It’s rock hard concrete’

Alex Saunders, operations manager for Thames Water, has said that the concreteberg is the largest they have seen so far.

He added: “Normally blockages are caused by fat, oil and wet wipes building up in the sewer, but unfortunately in this case it’s rock-hard concrete.

“It’s in there and set to the Victorian brickwork, so we need to chip away at it to get it removed.

“This is not the first time damage has been caused by people pouring concrete into our sewers but it’s certainly the worst we’ve seen.”

Clearing the Blockage

Over the next few weeks, workers from Thames Water will spend time manually working to remove the concrete. They plan to use high-pressure jets as well as pneumatic drills to put an end to the concreteberg.

Alongside this, they will need to put a plan into place to help prevent backed up sewage from flooding into people’s homes around Islington.

Northern Ireland’s Very Own Concreteberg

More recently, workmen for NI Water found another concrete blockage in a County Tyrone sewer system. The slab of concrete weighed the same as an adult tiger shark and was 30 ft long.

Wastewater Manager for NI Water, Anthony McGirr, said: “Rogue discharges like this are found around building sites where the remains of concrete are washed down into the drainage system. This is typical of material getting into our sewers from new building works and developments.

“Combined with brick bats, stones and inappropriate rags it can be a real pain to get removed and a very expensive piece of maintenance work.”

He also added that it shows a ‘lack a of respect’ for the network.

Remember the 3Ps!

The best thing to do is to remember the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper. If it isn’t one of these, then don’t flush it.

If you do have a blockage that you need help with, then please get in contact with us.