The Health & Environmental Impacts of a Sewer Overflow

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On Friday, July 5th, a sewer overflow in Waipahu, on the island of Oahu, sent more than 5,000 gallons of raw sewage into Pearl Harbor. “The city Department of Environmental Services received a call at 10 a.m. today reporting a blockage from a grease-clogged pipe that sent 5,625 gallons of raw wastewater out of a manhole. The crew was able to recover 500 gallons, with the remaining 5,125 going into a culvert that leads to a canal behind the Waipahu Recreational Center and eventually, the Middle Loch of Pearl Harbor.” (Star Advertiser) When raw sewage enters our environment and waterways it puts us all in danger.

Health Impact

From the EPA: Raw sewage contains disease-causing pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, worms, and protozoa. Diseases resulting from enteric pathogens range from stomach flu and upper respiratory infections to potentially life-threatening illnesses such as cholera, dysentery, Hepatitis B, and cryptosporidiosis.

When sewer overflows contaminate public places and waters, people can be put at risk of exposure to the untreated sewage when: Drinking from a contaminated community water supply, eating contaminated fish or shellfish and swimming in contaminated open water.

Environmental Impact

From the EPA: A key concern with sewer overflows which enter rivers, lakes, streams, or brackish waters is their effect on water quality. The environmental impacts of sewage include hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, habitat degradation, floating debris, and impacts to threatened or endangered species. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 50% of threatened and endangered species are water-dependent.

Recreation

Each year, tourism dollars are lost because hundreds of coastal beaches are closed due to sewer overflow contamination, often repeatedly or for extended periods. When your state is a top tourist destination, closing a popular beach, or beaches, for extended periods of time to clean contaminated water is a major problem.

Public and Private Property Damage

From the EPA: An untold number of private basement backups occur each year. In addition to the problem of human exposure, these spills can cause structural damage to building frames and foundations as well as water damage to electrical and gas appliances that are typically located in the basement. They can also damage or destroy floor and wallcoverings and personal property. The costs to repair damage and disinfect the area can range into the thousands, and are not typically covered by insurance.

Sewer overflows frequently spill into homeowner yards, damaging landscaping, driveways, and outside possessions. Municipal property damage from a major sewer overflow can be severe. Communities pay billions per year to clean up and repair overflow damage to sewer infrastructure, roads and other transportation assets, parks and recreation areas, and municipal water supplies and treatment facilities.

Incorporating the Grease Hero Drain Guard Into Your Kitchen Routine

When we all work together and do our part in keeping fats, oils and grease out of city sewers, we are each helping to decrease the chance of a sewer overflow into our neighborhood, city and homes.

The Grease Hero is designed to be placed into the top of your kitchen drain, so you can quickly and easily pour the used cooking fat, oil or grease (FOG) into it, and then promptly dispose of the entire drain guard. It is made with recyclable materials to absorb the FOG waste and can be thrown out with your regular garbage. This one easy change in your kitchen cleaning routine will save you money from costly plumbing repairs, the city from expensive sewer damage, and our environment from deadly contamination.

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Join Our Mission to save the environment and properly dispose of Fats, Oils, and Grease.

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