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Monday, Jan. 4, 2016

Peace with the Pipes

City’s program aims to keep build-ups minimal

pipes

City’s program aims to keep build-ups minimal

Make Peace with Your Pipes campaign is a new awareness effort in Shreveport as part of the city’s Pretreatment Program, a program, which regulates discharges to the sanitary sewer.

Chris Warren, pretreatment supervisor, is on board with this crucial cause. “The fats, oils and grease program regulates the discharge from all food service establishments (restaurants, hotels, nursing homes, schools, etc.) through discharge permits, which require the facilities to treat their wastewater through grease traps/interceptors prior to discharge, and maintain their treatment systems on a specified frequency,” Warren said. “While residential users are not ‘regulated’ through this program, residential users generate much of the fats, oils and grease entering the sanitary sewer system.”

The FOG program is now reaching out to all residential users through the Make Peace with Your Pipes campaign in an effort to raise awareness as well as inform the community of the various problems associated with fats, oils and grease being irresponsibly discharged into the sewer system. Those behind the program hope to offer suggestions as well as encouragement on how individuals can drastically reduce the amount of FOG being flushed from their homes.

“Fats, oils and grease are a major contributor to many of our city’s sanitary sewer overflows, known as SSOs,” Warren said. “When FOG is released into the sewer, it builds up in the pipes, causing blockages.

The result is sewerage backing up into homes and businesses, and overflowing out of manholes into streets and neighborhoods.”

Warren said this isn’t just a messy problem for the city.

“When a sanitary sewer overflows, outside of all of the environmental concerns are, it’s also very costly,” Warren said. “City crews have to spend many man-hours unclogging city sewer pipes and cleaning the lines.”

Warren said it’s a building problem everyone should work together on solving.

“Keeping our streets, yards, homes and waterways free of untreated sewage is something we should all care about,” Warren said. “Most of us just don’t realize that we all contribute to the problem to some degree and can adopt some practical measures in our homes to help alleviate the amount of fats, oils and grease we, as individuals, discharge to the sewer system.”

Warren said this program is a way for residents to save on future expenses.

“Residents can avoid potentially expensive plumbing bills at their own houses if they minimize the amount of FOG in their drains,” Warren said.

“To ‘Make Peace with Your Pipes’ is another way of saying, ‘I am committed to reducing the amount of fats, oils and grease that I discharge to the sanitary sewer so that blockages do not occur and sewer can stay where it belongs – in the pipes,’” Warren said.

Residents who want to start making that peace can start in the kitchen by remembering to never pour used cooking oil down the drain.

“In addition to not pouring oil down the drain, residents should also scrape food and residue from plates, pots and pans into the trash prior to rinsing,” Warren said. “Leftover scraps of food can contain significant amounts of fats, oils and grease. Using the garbage disposal as little as possible can produce some of the best results for minimizing FOG into the sewer.”

The city is offering cans with heat resistant liner bags to all residents in Shreveport. These cans can be used to store used cooking oil, and then the bag containing the oil can be discarded in the trash. Any Shreveport residents desiring one of the cans can obtain one by calling 673-6581 to get one.

“If we can provide awareness and solutions to residents of Shreveport about the problems associated with fats, oils and grease in the sewer system, we can reduce the number of sanitary sewer overflows caused by these thereby providing our residents with a cleaner and healthier environment,” Warren said.

–Betsy St. Amant

Learn more:

For more information on the FOG Program, contact the pretreatment office at 673-6581 or go to www. CleanWaterShreveport.com.

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