District News Articles

  2. Fats, Oils, and Greases aren’t just bad for your arteries and your waistline; they are bad for your sewer pipes as well. Sewer backups and overflows can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment. An increasingly common cause of sewer overflows is pipes blocked with grease. Grease and other non-soluble substances get into the sewer from household drains as well as poorly maintained grease traps in restaurants and other businesses.
    Grease can come from many sources, including meat fats, lard, cooking oil, shortening, butter and margarine, dairy products, sauces, food scraps, and even cat litter. Grease products are frequently washed into the sewer system through a kitchen sink. The grease coagulates on the inside of sewer pipes (see picture on right) and, over time, builds up until the pipes become completely plugged.
    Garbage disposals do not remove grease from the plumbing system. They only chop solid materials into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease products from flowing down the drain. Commercial additives, including detergents, that claim to dissolve grease may allow grease to pass down the pipe causing problems in other areas.
    Grease buildups can result in sewer stoppages which can lead to backups in homes and businesses. They can also cause sewage to overflow the District’s system resulting in environmental contamination. Finally, they result in increased operating costs due to the necessity for more frequent sewer cleaning operations.
    Please Note: Most sewage backups occur in the service line between Bow Mar’s main line and the customer’s home, which is the property and responsibility of the customer. The removal of clogs or repair of any damage to the service line is the homeowner’s responsibility (see article titled, How Much Water and Sewer Service Pipe is Your Responsibility...located here).
    Bow Mar makes every effort to protect its customers against sewage backups. Under the District’s preventative maintenance program, 25 percent of the main lines are camera-inspected for blockages annually, with areas of build-up “jet cleaned” with high-pressure water. Therefore, all lines are inspected every 4 years. Further, our crews conduct visual inspections of manholes on some sewer lines monthly, and some areas also receive more frequent camera-inspections and jet cleaning.
    How You Can Help?
    Homeowners can assist the District in the following ways:
    1.              Use sewer lines for wash waters and human wastes only.
    2.              Never pour non-water-soluble substances, such as grease, cooking or motor oil, cat litter or rags, into your toilets, sinks, or storm-drains.
    3.              Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills and cooking surfaces into a can or trash for disposal.
    4.              Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids and dispose of them in the trash.
    5.              Advise your children, friends, and neighbors about the importance of keeping grease out of sewers.
    Help us keep our sewers on a fat free diet this year! If you have any questions, or to obtain a free brochure titled Fat-Free Sewers: How to Prevent Fats, Oils, and Greases from Damaging Your Home and the Environment, please call Alyssa Quinn at the Bow Mar District office at (303) 979-2333.