DUBUQUE, Iowa — Sewer backups have been frequent, and expensive in Dubuque this year. As a result, the city council unanimously approved a new policy Monday to control the amount of fat, oil and grease, known collectively as FOG, entering city pipes. City engineers say about one-fourth of all overflows are a result of fat buildup in the sewer.
The majority of the FOG comes when people dump fats, oils and grease down drains, where they stick to the city’s plumbing infrastructure. That’s a problem for almost everyone.
“Not only can this cause problems for the city sanitary sewer systems, it could also cause problems for the homeowner going lateral because of the sane thing that happens in the smaller pipes coming from your house, also happens out in the streets,” said Jonathan Brown with the Water Resource Recovery Center.
Each backup costs between $50,000 and $60,000 to fix, and is also a violation of the Clean Water Act.