It's the silly season in news, so it's no surprise that everyone on the planet heard about the Great Fatberg of London about five minutes after it was discovered.
The fatberg, so named by Thames Water, is the largest single lump of congealed lard ever found in the London sewer system.
It was so big, it was preventing nearby residents from flushing their toilets. Things could have turned much worse than a few backed up toilets, however.
"If we hadn't discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston," said Gordon Hailwood, a waste contracts supervisor for Thames Water.
The sizeable pipe is now being repaired, and this will no doubt cause some inconvenience and grumbling. No one
likes navigating around ripped up roads, and it's not exactly cheap to replace major pieces of public infrastructure.
That said, we should take this as an opportunity to give thanks to those who keep our sewer and water pipes blessedly far from our minds most of the time. It is a miracle of modern life in the affluent West that we flush toilets and turn on taps, and expect everything to flow.
We flip light switches and expect light, we go into buildings and don't worry they might collapse and crush us.
Of course, there are exceptions. But when a bridge or shopping mall collapses, or when water is poisoned by bacteria, or when fatbergs form in the sewers, these things make the news because they are exceptions.
Building cities and making them run is a pretty thankless task most of the time.
So let us now thank the labourers and contractors and engineers who do that work.
We promise we will stop pouring grease down the drain, cutting holes in loadbearing walls and ignoring the fire safety codes. At least for now.
- Editorial from the Langley Advance
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