Sewer blockages are one of the fastest growing problems facing cities.
Blockages occur within the sewer system whenever something goes down a drain that should not. Many parents will attest to the fact that children often flush unlikely objects down the toilet and block the lines, requiring the expensive services of a plumber to fix.
Blockages within a resident’s home are just the tip of the iceberg. Everything that goes down your drains ends up in wastewater pipes, pumps, treatment plants, and eventually into lakes.
Pouring fats, oils, and grease down the drain is harmful to your pipes and could result in costly repairs. As FOG travels down the drain and through the pipes, it begins to cool, congeal and clump together. Eventually the clumps become so large, they restrict the flow of water in the pipes and create blockages. When this happens, the sewer system can back up and overflow.
When FOG blockages are detected, the City dispatches crews to the ’hot spot’ where they try to break up the blockage before a sewer overflow occurs. Work crews use high pressure water to melt the blockage. This doesn’t eliminate FOG from the system, it just moves it further down the line.
What can I do?
Help prevent a sewer backup in your home or neighborhood.
Never pour FOG down the drain or garbage disposal.
Wipe pots, pans and dishes with dry paper towels before rinsing or washing them; then throw away the paper towels.
Compost what you can and scrape the rest into the trash.
Remember, if it isn’t toilet paper, or human waste, it doesn’t belong in the toilet. Flushable wipes are the fastest growing form of blockages. While manufacturers claim wipes can be flushed (meaning they will go down the drain), they do not break apart the way toilet paper does. This can cause ’rag balls’ to form, blocking sewer lines.
Photo: This massive clog was removed from a NTMWD lift station that pumps wastewater to a treatment plant.