Water and sewer officials said cooking grease is behind overflow

Water and sewer officials said cooking grease is behind overflow

6,800+ gallons of water spilled into creek

Updated: Wednesday, 12 Sep 2012, 6:08 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 12 Sep 2012, 1:43 PM CDT

  • Steve Alexander

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – There was a nasty problem in west Mobile Tuesday some said could have been prevented.

Mobile Area Water and Sewer System, or MAWSS, officials are blaming another sewage overflow on a grease blockage.

Crews were working Wednesday afternoon in a neighborhood near Skyline Drive North and Theodore Dawes Road.

An estimated 6800 gallons of wastewater overflowed from a manhole because of a suspected grease blockage.

There were concerns the wastewater had flowed into nearby Rabbit Creek.

Barbara Shaw with MAWSS said, “Grease started building in the sewer line until a blockage formed.  The sewer water had no place to go, except through a manhole. And, once it left the manhole, it found its way into a storm drain.”

Fortunately, crews said the wastewater just collected, and didn’t make it into Rabbit Creek.

Water officials said that’s a good thing because, Shaw said, “We’re talking about untreated waste water.”

MAWSS administrators said all this might be unnecessary, if people recycled grease instead of pouring it down kitchen sinks.

They said the grease is supposed to go in containers, which can be left at their headquarters, or other locations around the Mobile area.

Shaw said, “Pick up a free container, put the grease in it, and return it.  When its full, get another.”

And, the water and sewer department said a lot more people are doing this, year after year.

According to Shaw, “When we first started this program in 2006, we had 51 overflows reaching water. This year, we have 14.”

MAWSS hopes the numbers will keep improving.

MAWSS gives out grease recycling containers at locations throughout the city as part of their “It’s Easy to be Ungreasy,” campaign. The containers are free, but a website for the program says you can use your own leak-proof container as well.