Crews in Oklahoma City receive more than 3,000 calls annually for sewer related issues, including backups and odors.
Most calls are caused because of what people put down the drain.
When backups aren't wreaking havoc on Oklahoma City's 3,000-mile wastewater system, crews spend their time with maintenance.
“People forget about the washer, the dishwasher, the bathtub, the shower, all of that goes in the same place,” said Allen McDonald, Superintendent of the Oklahoma City Wastewater Division.
Areas that are dense with restaurants and businesses, like the intersection of Pennsylvania and Memorial in Northwest Oklahoma City, often receive the most attention. Crews take preventative measures to avoid backups caused by grease.
“We're pulling all that material that may have sloughed out like baby wipes, grease, anything that may have settled out,” said McDonald. “We're pulling it back through manhole, sucking it out and getting rid of it.”
Nearly everything you can think of; line maintenance crews have found clogging pipes. The same goes for many personal hygiene items like Q-tips.
“Diaper wipes and adult wipes, we don't want those down the toilet either,” said Jennifer McClintock, spokesperson for the Oklahoma City Utilities Department. “They don't break down as advertised even though they say flushable on the package. They can get in with the fats, oils and the grease in our lines and they can cause significant backups.”
Continuing these practices may not cause a backup for you but for neighbors down the line, it’s a different story.
Instead of pouring grease down the drain, crews suggest using a used coffee can. Let the crease cool off in the can and put it in the freezer. Throw the can away on trash day.