Holiday season is upon us which means fried turkeys, gravy and buttery foods. It also means the potential for these and other fats, oils and grease to get mistakenly washed down the drain where they can stick inside of pipes to harden and create a build-up or blockage. If that happens, costly sewage overflows can occur in homes, streets and local waterways.
At the District, we use a two-pronged approach to preventing these types of occurrences: our wastewater operations staff uses an innovative technology to annually inspect our conveyance pipelines to detect areas where cleaning is needed; and we partner with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Wastewater and Treatment Education Roundtable and several of our Member Cities on educating the public on the dangers of allowing fats, oils and grease down the drains.
The District has over 710,000 linear feet of gravity pipeline that conveys wastewater from the communities we serve and approximately 1,800 manholes. Our Condition Assessment Program has a goal to inspect approximately 10% of all wastewater pipelines and manholes in the system each year. By inspecting first, instead of a systematic cleaning regardless of condition, we identify areas that need more frequent monitoring and/or cleaning to remove debris before it creates a clog. By focusing cleaning efforts on the parts of the system that need it the most, we reduce the linear feet of pipe to undergo the expensive cleaning process which can result in over $1 million saved each year.
To date, we’ve inspected about 87% of the manholes in our system and the results show 23% of those in good or better condition, 41% fair, and about 22% needing repair. As a result of the extensive manhole inspections, the District was able to prioritize rehabilitation efforts, identify new point repair and manhole improvements projects that will benefit our Cities through minimizing overflows, further protecting our environment.
While we make every effort to maintain an efficient wastewater conveyance system, it’s also important to educate the general public on what they can do to help prevent costly repairs and blockages. Throughout the year, we work with and promote Defend Your Drains North Texas, an educational effort to encourage residents to properly dispose of items that can harm a home’s plumbing system, the region’s wastewater treatment systems, and water quality.
During the holidays, we focus on getting North Texans to participate in the Holiday Grease Roundup where they can recycle their used fats, oils and grease for free. The 2019 Holiday Grease Roundup kicks off Monday, November 25, and ends Monday, January 6. In addition to helping protect sewer systems and the environment, the collected cooking oil and grease will be recycled into biodiesel or biogas, which reduces landfill waste and produces an alternative fuel that is clean and green.
DefendYourDrainsNorthTexas.com has an interactive map highlighting drop-off locations around the metroplex. The District will again serve as a drop-off location making it convenient for our employees to participate in the program. See below for details.
Last year, we collected 113 gallons of used cooking oils at the District’s drop off location. That’s about 15 cubic feet of grease – or the size a large deep-freezer chest.
Through our proactive maintenance management, we are building better data for decisions regarding capital investments and maximizing the value for our aging infrastructure. By educating our communities, we’re working together to protect our systems, the environment and area waterways.
NTMWD FACILITY GREASE DROP-OFF
Environmental Services Building (drop-off site behind building)
201 E. Brown St., Wylie, TX 75098