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City Of Columbia

City of Columbia Achieves Significant Results in Reducing Fats, Oils and Grease Blockages

January 16, 2013

Reducing Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) is the City’s top priority. Since overflows peaked in 2008, City staff has been working full-time to identify problems in the system and to work out the best ways to generate immediate reductions. Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) have been and continue to present a big problem to the City’s sewer system. Improper cleanup practices by food service establishments and residential customers allow FOG to enter the sanitary sewer system which ultimately impacts the entire system and creates environmental and public health concerns.

When not disposed of properly, FOG forms thick layers inside the sewer system and prevents normal flow. This build-up can ultimately clog sewer lines andDo Pour Jug potentially result in sewer backups, overflows and odor problems. FOG also attracts insects and small animals, causing additional concerns within the City’s sewer system. By providing education on FOG, in conjunction with implementing and regulating our City sewer ordinance for compliance, we were able to take a big first step in initiating a drastic reduction in SSOs caused by FOG.

FY2008-2009 saw 455 SSOs, which equates to 2,006,476 gallons of sewage. With City staff working tirelessly to manage conditions which cause overflows, including an aggressive sewer cleaning and inspection program, the City’s SSOs have been reduced significantly. While there is still a lot of work to do, the staff of the Wastewater Maintenance Division and Metro Divisions have already made a major contribution to achieving our goal.


Recent statistics show that since July of 2008, the City has reduced the number of grease-related SSOs by an average of 22% each fiscal year. Hats off to the entire wastewater section for their relentless determination in achieving these reductions!