Foreign Objects Creating Backups in Sewer Pipes

Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 9:28am

We all know what goes down the toilet, three things, one being toilet paper, the other two, well, you know. But the City of Brownsville's Public Utilities department is finding a lot more than just t-p and waste water are making their way into our sewer pipes, causing the pipes to back up.

Baby wipes, paper towels, rags, syringes, and even motor oil, are being found when BPUB crews go out to handle backup calls.

But believe it or not, the bulk of the backups come from something else, the things previously mentioned just add to the problem.

"We do have what we consider a grease problem." says BPUB Pretreatment Coordinator Joe Bolado.

Officials are finding an increase in fats, oils and grease getting poured down sink drains at homes and restaurants across town.

Bolado says when grease builds up on the sides of the sewer pipe walls, that the width of those pipes begins to get smaller and smaller. When residents toss things like paper towels and wipies, or any other foreign objects down the toilet, those objects stick to the grease, once again making the pipe even smaller.

At some point the pipe will gets so clogged that sewage can't pass through and when it has nowhere to go, it's not a pretty sight.

"The sewer (water) might go into the house, mess up their carpet, it could run up into their yard.” says Bolado.

These overflows create environmental and health hazard problems.

So to avoid this unsightly, unpleasant smelling issue, a few very simple tips the city asks that residents follow:

Instead of rinsing grease down your sink drain, pre-clean dishes with a paper towel to wipe away the majority of the grease and toss the paper towel in the trash. If you're cooking with a large amount of grease dispose of it in a container before tossing it.

As far as foreign objects down the toilet are concerned, just don't do it! Throw away anything other than toilet paper, in a trash can.

According to officials, these extremely simple pieces of advice will make a big difference in the way the sewer systems operate here in the city of Brownsville.

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