• September 18, 2014

Residents add to clogged sewers

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Posted: Sunday, December 9, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 4:24 pm, Thu Feb 6, 2014.

Many households will be cooking over the holidays, which means more grease and cooking oils clogging up the sewer system.

While restaurants generate the majority of the grease in Killeen’s sewers, households do contribute to the overall problem, said Jerry Atkinson, general manager of Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.

“Anybody that puts grease and any other unwanted object in the sewer contributes to the mess,” he said.

Atkinson said the plants always see a spike in grease flow during the holidays.

Although Killeen does not directly regulate residential grease dumping, the city is trying to increase awareness about the costs of putting cooking oil, grease or greasy food down the drain.

Limiting the amount of grease households put down their drains citywide could lower residents’ water bills.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality created guidelines for what not to put down the drain and how to decrease grease pollution in city sewers.

One important rule is to scrape food scraps in the trash and not put them into the sink.

Also, wiping down greasy plates or pans with a paper towel before placing them in the dishwasher or sink helps protect the sewers.

When cooking with oil, TCEQ suggests pouring the oil, after it has cooled, into a sealable container and placing the sealed container in the trash.

Residents can take used cooking oil to the Killeen Recycle Center, at 111 E. Avenue F. The oil must be in a sealable container and not mixed with motor oil, said Peter DiLillo, the recycle center manager.

Grease or motor oil that has accumulated on a driveway also contributes to sewer problems. When a driveway is washed, the oil ends up in the sewer.

TCEQ suggests sprinkling clay cat litter over the oil to soak it up, then sweeping it into the trash.

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