Grease Buildup is Main Cause of New York City Sewer Backups

December 31, 2013

An expanded remote sewer monitoring program in New York City is helping crews to respond before sewage backs up into homes, businesses and streets.

In 2012, 21 monitoring devices were installed. Another 25 were added this year. They’ve helped the Department of Environmental Protection to successfully respond to more than 120 alerts. Another 18 will be installed.

The data is contained in the DEP’s 2013 sewer performance report.

The report says grease buildup accounted for more than 60 percent of confirmed sewer backups in 2013. Consequently, the agency started a public outreach campaign about the hazards of improper grease disposal.

After Superstrom Sandy, the DEP fielded 925 sewer backup calls, accounting for six percent of all sewer backup complaints in 2013. That resulted in the cleanup of 3,500 catch basins.

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