08/14/05 — Plan in place to put end to sewer clogs

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Plan in place to put end to sewer clogs

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 14, 2005 2:09 AM

A 2-year-old city program aimed at keeping hardened grease from clogging up Goldsboro's sewer system is almost fully implemented.

"We're down to a few stragglers, who have either changed their kitchen layout or their location," Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said. "It's been a slow process, but successful."

Fatty byproducts created when cooking with meat fats, butter, baking goods, sauces and some dairy products get into the sewer after being poured down the drain.

The grease sticks to the inside of the sewer pipes and solidifies. It blocks the pipes and causes sewage overflows. The city receives hefty fines from the Environmental Protection Agency for sewage spills.

To lower the amount of grease, fats and oils in the sewer system, the city implemented a grease-trap program, which targets eating establishments in Goldsboro.

"There are 365 eating establishments here," Cianfarra said."That includes restaurants, day cares and schools, any place that serves food."

The city inspects the eating places, making sure an effective grease trap is in place.

The grease trap removes oil and grease from wastewater.

The criteria for the traps is based on the type of food being served and the number of sinks used.

"We look at the peak flow, and there's a calculation to determine how much is passing through during the busiest times," Cianfarra said. "The trap must be pumped at least once every 30 days, so it has to be sized to handle a 30-day flow from that facility."

He said he has been shocked at what he has seen in the sewer lines, caused by grease blockage.

"There were manholes 10 feet deep with a 24-inch pipe and it's packed solid in grease," he said.

Since the program has been implemented, Cianfarra said the sewer system blockages have decreased.

"We had certain areas, like on Berkeley Boulevard or around Ash Street and Royall Avenue, where we used to have frequent calls to flush out the sewer pipes," he said. "We don't get as many calls there now."

Cianfarra said that the city would soon be looking at large apartment complexes.

"Even though it's not a restaurant, wherever you have a heavy concentration of people putting grease, fats or solids down the drain, there is a problem," he said. "We're looking at how to handle that now."