7 questions on sewers


Britain's biggest ever "fatberg" - a "bus-sized lump" of food fat mixed with wet wipes - has been removed from a London sewer. How much do you know about unusual things found in underground conduits?


1.) Multiple Choice Question

The fatberg found in sewers beneath Kingston-upon-Thames is believed to be the biggest in British history. What did Thames Water technicians use to break it down?

Sewage worker with
  1. High-pressure water jets
  2. Chisels
  3. Blowtorches

2.) Multiple Choice Question

In 2010 Scottish Water published the 20 weirdest things found in its sewers by workers. Which of the following was NOT on the list?

Snake, badger, cow, lizard
  1. A snake
  2. A badger
  3. A cow
  4. A lizard

3.) Multiple Choice Question

In 1935, the New York Times reported that an alligator had been discovered in a sewer in Harlem. What was the creature's fate, according to the paper?

  1. Taken to Bronx Zoo
  2. Shipped to Florida Everglades
  3. Beaten to death with shovels

4.) Multiple Choice Question

Tours of Vienna's sewers - made famous by the film The Third Man - were banned because of rats. Officials relented when guides found a method of scaring off the rodents. What was it?

  1. Flaming torches
  2. Bagpipes
  3. Sonar waves

5.) Multiple Choice Question

Which time of year is busiest for the UK "flushers" - workers who unblock fatty residue from sewers?

London sewage worker, 1934
  1. Summer holidays
  2. Early autumn
  3. Christmas

6.) Multiple Choice Question

Police in Modesto, California, launched an investigation after sanitation workers went to pawnbrokers with treasure they had found in the sewage network. What were the items in question?

  1. Gold jewellery
    Gold rings
  2. Rolex watches
    Rolex watch
  3. Mobile phones
    Mobile phone

7.) Multiple Choice Question

In 1437 King James I of Scotland tried to escape from assassins by jumping into a sewer. But he failed to get away as he had ordered its exit blocked. Why?

  1. To keep the smell out
  2. To prevent rats
  3. To prevent tennis balls getting lost


  1. The fatberg was removed by workmen using high-pressure water jets. Thames Water's Gordon Hailwood said chemicals would be added to reduce it further.
  2. It's a lizard. Other items found in Scotland's sewer network included a deckchair, a fully functioning clothes iron, a parcel trolley and a sheep.
  3. The alligator was beaten to death by three boys who spotted it while shovelling snow, according to the report, which speculated that it may have fallen from a boat travelling from Florida. The veracity of the tale has been questioned down the years.
  4. It's bagpipes. Tour organiser Peter Ryborz said the instrument drove the rats away. Visitors light torches to see the tunnels underneath the city.
  5. It's Christmas. Thames Water says 25% more fat, oil and grease is poured down the nation's sinks during the festive period.
  6. It was gold jewellery. The employees reportedly found $2,500 (1,628) worth during a routine cleaning expedition.
  7. It was to prevent tennis balls getting lost. The conspirators - Walter of Atholl, Robert Stewart and Robert Graham - were all executed for their part in the killing.

Your Score

0 - 3 : Swept away

4 - 6 : Stagnant

7 - 7 : Royal flush

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