Grease buildup leads to manhole blockage –City of Valdosta 2020-06-23

Good idea, Valdosta: telling people about these things, so nobody will stumble over them. And good news that Valdosta Utilities vacuumed up all the spill before it got into any waterway. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for sending the press release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2020
Release # 06-23-89

Grease Buildup Leads to Manhole Blockage

On June 23, at approximately 7:50 a.m., City of Valdosta crews responded to a report from a city utility worker in the area of North Ashley Street and Barfield Road. Upon arrival, the city crews noticed a blockage in the manhole. Utility crews used a vacuum truck to unblock the manhole and prevent the discharge from entering any ditch, creek, stream or river.

[Barfield Drive, between Twomile and Threemile Branches]
Barfield Drive, between Twomile and Threemile Branches in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The cause of the blockage was due to a buildup of excessive fats, oils, and grease from a restaurant in the Five Points area discharging into a City of Valdosta sewer main. This is the second instance in the last six months in which a manhole blockage was caused by the improper maintenance of this internal private sewer system. As a result, the City of Valdosta Utilities Department will issue the property owner(s) a formal Notice of Violation (NOV).

The city crews cleaned and disinfected the area. This area is on a routine cleaning schedule and crews will also take a look at the surrounding area sewer mains to ensure no additional blockages exists.

The City’s FOG Prevention Division continues to urge all customers to refrain from dumping waste cooking fats, oils and grease (FOG) down their home or business drains for the protection of their personal property, as well as the public sanitary sewer collection system. City staff will continue distributing educational door hangers to homes and businesses in the general area to inform citizens on how to properly dispose of cooking fats, oils and grease and how they can prevent this occurrence in the future.

We need your help to prevent Fats, Oils and Grease from causing blockages in the sewer system

Fats, oils and grease do not mix well with water and easily adhere to the walls of underground pipes when washed down the drain as liquids. As they cool, these substances solidify and adhere to the pipes interior. If allowed, over time the grease builds up and cause blockages which in turn cause overflows and breaks in the pipes.

Never Pour Fats, Oil or Grease Down the Drain

  • Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) clog pipes at your house and in City’s utility infrastructure system. The blockage can cause raw sewage to back up into your home, your yard, your streets and waterways.
  • Grease in your pipes leads to increased plumbing costs.
  • Money spent on costly cleanups of sewage spills leads to increased utility bills.

What You Can Do With Your Leftover Fats, Oil and Grease

  • Discard leftover fat, oil or grease into the trash.

If you put F.O.G into the trash:

  • Pour cooled grease into an empty can or plastic container before tossing it in the trash.
  • Scrape food scraps from dishes into the trash.
  • Collect leftover or expired oils (salad dressing, cooking oils, etc.) in containers; absorb liquids with coffee grounds, cat litter or paper towels; toss in trash.
  • Use rubber scrapers and paper towels to remove oil and grease from cookware.
  • Avoid using a garbage disposal.
  • Put baskets or strainers into sinks to catch food scraps and then empty them in the trash.

Individuals with questions should contact Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or by email at sfowler@valdostacity.com.

-end-

Valdosta has started a YouTube video program called Keeping You Informed (KIY), which includes FOG Program KYI, Metro 17 Valdosta Production, 27 August 2018, in which FOG Prevention Program Technician Joseph Gangler shows you what it’s about.

If you see a possible sewage spill, you can report it to the City of Valdosta through Click ‘N’ Fix.

Or if you see a spill, trash, or anything else that might be water contamination i the Suwannee River Basin, you can send it to WWALS.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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