Cause Of Sewer Spill: Grease Blockage

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Press Release: City of Valdosta

The City of Valdosta Utilities Department was contacted on July 22, 2013, at 3:34 p.m., concerning an overflowing manhole in the 2400 block of N. Patterson Street. Crews responded immediately and determined that a grease blockage caused the overflow of the sewer main. The city’s Vac-Con truck was quickly dispatched, the blockage was cleared, and the overflow was stopped by 4:15 p.m.

The city estimates that 50 gallons per minute was discharged into the stormwater collection system and into Two Mile Branch at N. Patterson Street. The total amount of the spill is estimated at 2,050 gallons.

Grease from restaurants, homes, and industrial sources is the most common cause of blockages in sewer systems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Similar to the circulatory system of the human body, grease that enters the sewer system solidifies, reduces flow capacity within the pipes and causes blockages that can eventually lead to system failure.

The City of Valdosta’s Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) reduction program is dedicated to reducing the discharge of grease into the sewer system from food service and industrial sources, which includes the required periodic preventive maintenance to grease interceptors. Commercial and industrial sources connected to the affected line are provided with prevention information and are frequently checked to ensure compliance with the FOG program. In addition, the city is attempting to trace the source of the grease blockage to prevent similar events in the future.

Signs have been placed at the spill site and in McKey Park to warn the general public. Due to the possibility of high bacteria levels, citizens should avoid contact with the water in Two Mile Branch at McKey Park and downstream to the Mill Pond for the next seven days.

For more information, contact Environmental Manager John Waite at (229) 259-3592 or click here to view the city’s FOG program webpage.

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