RALEIGH: Here's why dumping grease is a bad idea - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Raleigh residents: Here's why dumping grease is a bad idea

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A clogged sewer forced an estimated 6,000 gallons of sewage to overflow in Raleigh Monday behind 6894 Litchford Road, underscoring the city’s message to citizens to be careful with what you flush.

City of Raleigh Public Utilities Director John Robert Carman told WNCN that residents should only flush human waste and toilet paper.

Some “disposable wipes,” he said, can actually clog sewers, because the cloth doesn’t deteriorate and clings to tree roots in the sewers. That eventually leads to backups.

He also said residents should not pour grease down drains, because the grease – whether hot or cold – can stick to pipes and build up over time.

“A lot of people have this misperception that if you pour it down hot it makes a difference,” he said.

On Monday, a resident alerted the city at 10 a.m. and city workers had the overflow stopped by 11 a.m.

The city estimated the overflow had occurred for approximately 15 hours at an estimated volume of 6,000 gallons, of which 2,500 gallons reached an unnamed tributary of Perry Creek. No fish kill had occurred from this overflow.

The city said a buildup of grease in the pipes caused the blockage.

The overflow was thankfully small. Carman said a recent report said Raleigh had only about one fourth the overflows one might expect for a Southeastern city of this size.

“The number we have [is small] because of the extra attention we pay to cleaning sewers,” Carman said.

In 2013, he said, Raleigh had 46 overflows through November for a total of 786,000 gallons. The total in 2012 was 1.24 million.

The city’s public water utility spends about $7 million a year cleaning pipes, Carman said.

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