• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 3s

Proper precautions in the kitchen keep sewer lines cleaner

By Heather Hintze 9:39 PM February 11, 2014

Fats, oils and grease can clog lines easily.

ANCHORAGE - It takes a lot of work to keep sewer lines clean. Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) only has four crews to maintain more than 700 miles of line.

“You can climb into a manhole and use a mirror and a light and see about 30 or 40 feet up a sewer line, but typically our manholes are 300 to 500 feet between manholes,” said Fred Brown, the sewer and line-cleaning foreman.

A robotic camera helps them find the trouble spots farther up the line. It moves through to show crews what they’re working with.

“Most of the time we can see a section of pipe that needs to be cleaned, and how thorough we cleaned it and what type of head we need to clean the line,” said CCTV operator Monty Hubble.

Brown said most lines are pretty clean but there are others around town that are not. The camera shows just how gunked up lines can get from FOG: fats, oils and grease.

“The biggest problem is it creates backup in the line, and unfortunately when we have backups more often it will come up in someone’s residence rather than coming out of a manhole in the street,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, a homeowner has to deal with that.”

To combat the buildup, they send in high-pressured hoses. Most lines are cleaned every five to seven years. There are a few on an “accelerated” schedule though, some which need a scrubbing once a month.

“It’s very frustrating for our crews, because what happens is we end up spending time on these lines that have to be acceleratedly cleaned and that takes away from the time we have for our general-line cleaning and for doing our other maintenance work that needs to be done,” Brown explained.

The best way to prevent FOG from ending up in the lines is to take precautions in the kitchen:

  • Store bacon grease or other oils in an empty container and throw it in the garbage.
  • Wipe off greasy pans before washing them.
  • Condiments, like ketchup and mustard, also have a high amount of fat. Don’t put leftovers down the drain.

Brown said for many people dumping fats down the drain is out of sight, out of mind. He warns people to be aware that a backed up line can be messy and costly. It’s easier to prevent that if you keep FOG out of the drain.

Latest Stories

  • DayBreak

    Daybreak Adopt-A-Pets for Oct. 9, 2015

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 09, 13:49

    There are plenty of furry faces hoping to find a loving home. Those looking on the lookout for one are in luck. In this weeks Adopt-A-Pet, the Anchorage Animal Care and Control has three four legged friends ready to be adopted. Doe’jo: Looking for a warm lap to curl up in Friendly and affectionate Lovely […]

  • News

    More, smaller icebergs could show up in Alaska tanker lanes

    by Associated Press on Oct 09, 12:18

    Alaska’s Prince William Sound will see more, but smaller icebergs in the next decade. That’s according to a report by a marine safety organization that monitors tankers carrying oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline. The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council says icebergs from Columbia Glacier are smaller because they have to travel farther before […]

  • DayBreak

    Van Gogh comes to life at the Anchorage Museum

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 09, 11:32

    A new exhibit at the Anchorage Museum brings the work of famed painter Vincent Van Gogh to life. “Van Gogh Alive – The Experience” runs from Friday, October 9, 2015 to January 10, 2016. Using state-of-the-art multimedia technology, and set to an “evocative classical score,” Van Gogh’s paintings are projected onto massive screens throughout the […]

  • News

    Alaska Permanent Fund Corp names new CEO

    by Associated Press on Oct 09, 11:07

    Angela Rodell has been selected to be the new CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. The corporation’s board voted unanimously Friday to offer Rodell the job. The corporation says the selection is contingent upon the successful negotiation of a salary and benefits package. Rodell served as a Revenue commissioner under Gov. Sean Parnell and […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Vicious Mammals

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 09, 10:10

    “Junkyard” Jesse Jack, Dick Nitrous, CJ Elliott and Dale Payne make up the rock band Vicious Mammals. Hailing from Wasilla, the band has earned comparisons to groups like AC/DC and the New York Dolls. In July they released their debut album, “Switchblade Ballerina.” When asked how the band came up with their name, Jack says […]

  • Crime

    One person hospitalized following early morning shooting in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 09, 9:02

    Anchorage police are investigating an early morning shooting near Dimond Blvd. and Arctic Blvd. that left one person hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Dispatchers received word of a disturbance at a business near W. 64th St. and C St. just before 3 a.m. Friday morning, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Officers were […]

  • Sports

    ABL adjusts as Alaska Goldpanners exit league

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 09, 7:52

    The show must go on. And it will. In this case, that show is the Alaska Baseball League, which will enter its 42nd summer season in 2016.  But it will enter those warm nights shorthanded. Last month, the Alaska Goldpanners decided to leave the league to play other independent baseball teams from across the country. The move was […]

  • News

    Alaska Marine Highway System cuts ferry terminal positions

    by Associated Press on Oct 09, 6:46

    The Alaska Marine Highway System has cut 20 shore positions as officials deal with a scaled back budget. The Ketchikan Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1hu1Llv ) that in the past week, 14 people have been laid off in the ferry system, and other vacant positions were also cut. Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says […]