VALDOSTA – A grease blockage caused about 20 gallons of sewage to flow into One Mile Branch this week.

The City of Valdosta received notification of a possible overflow at the 1400 block of Williams Street early this week. 

Upon arrival, it was determined that a partially clogged sewer line was the cause of the issue, city officials said in a statement. City staff unblocked the line and stopped the overflow. 

The cause of the spill was determined to be a blockage of fats, oils and grease resulting in approximately 20 gallons of sewage to enter a storm drain that discharges into One Mile Branch, city officials said.

Staff began cleanup and disinfecting at the overflow location. All appropriate regulatory and public health agencies were notified and warning signs posted, city officials said. Although the level of potential contamination to the area is minimal, city officials advise the public to avoid contact with the water adjacent to 1400 block of Williams Street for the next seven days.

The city’s FOG Prevention Division urges all customers to refrain from dumping waste cooking fats, oils and grease down their home or business drains for the protection of their personal property, as well as the public sanitary sewer collection system. 

City staff will continue distributing educational door hangers to homes and businesses in the general area to inform residents on how to properly dispose of cooking fats, oils and grease and how they can prevent this occurrence in the future.

"We need your help to prevent fats, oils and grease from causing blockages in the sewer system," city officials said. "Fats, oils and grease do not mix well with water and easily adhere to the walls of underground pipes when washed down the drain as liquids. As they cool, these substances solidify and adhere to the pipes interior. If allowed, over time the grease builds up and cause blockages which in turn cause overflows and breaks in the pipes."

For Residential Customers

– Never pour fats, oil or grease down the drain.

– Fats, oils and grease clog pipes at your house and in the city’s utility infrastructure system. The blockage can cause raw sewage to back up into homes, yards, streets and waterways.

– Grease in pipes leads to increased plumbing costs.

– Money spent on costly cleanups of sewage spills leads to increased utility bills.

Handling leftover fats, oil, grease

– Discard leftover fat, oil or grease into the trash.

If putting FOG into the trash:

– Pour cooled grease into an empty can or plastic container before tossing it in the trash.

– Scrape food scraps from dishes into the trash.

– Collect leftover or expired oils (salad dressing, cooking oils, etc.) in containers; absorb liquids with coffee grounds, cat litter or paper towels; toss in trash.

– Use rubber scrapers and paper towels to remove oil and grease from cookware.

– Avoid using a garbage disposal.

– Put baskets or strainers into sinks to catch food scraps and then empty them in the trash.

People with questions should contact Scott Fowler, environmental manager, at (229) 259-3592 or by email at sfowler@valdostacity.com.

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