The Museum of London has added a hardened gob of sewage to its permanent collection to properly honour the festering abomination that has plagued the Victorian-era subterranean infrastructure in recent years.
Last year, London’s “fatbergs” gained international attention when the enormous mounds of fat, nappies, condoms, faeces and wet wipes started clogging the city’s sewer networks.
In September, utility workers scrambled to remove a dense blob weighing about 130 metric tonnes and blocking 250m of sewer — alleviating the issue before it caused sewage to start spilling out into the streets above.
“This fatberg is up there with the biggest we’ve ever seen. It’s a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove as it’s set hard,” said Matt Rimmer, director of Thames Water’s waste network, in a statement at the time.
“It’s basically like trying to break up concrete. It’s frustrating as these situations are totally avoidable and caused by fat, oil and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo.”
Thames Water released a video of the beast in an effort to discourage people from flushing items that shouldn’t be disposed of in a toilet.
— Thames Water (@thameswater) September 12, 2017
Workers, covered entirely in protective gear, used high-powered hoses to dismember the toxic worm-goblin so that they could suck the pieces out using tankers. The waste was then sent to a recycling site in Stratford.
But chunks of it have been preserved for all to behold. Samples of the fatberg was first put on temporary display at the Museum of London in February. The grotesque nuggets have been so popular that the museum decided to make them a permanent exhibit. And the museum has set up a “FatCam” livestream so that anyone can watch one of the calcified turd-wads as it evolves.
Museum curators told The Guardian that since the fatberg has been in their possession, it has changed colours, “sweated” and even hatched flies.
“Since going off display, the fatberg has started to grow visible mould, which we have identified as aspergillus,” the museum’s head of conservation and collection care Sharon Robinson-Claber told the news outlet. “We believe this started while the fatberg was on display and we’re currently monitoring the mould and working to control it.”
For visitors who want a souvenir of seeing scatalogical history up close, the museum gift shop sells fatberg totebags and fatberg fudge.