Some section of the city's 7,500 miles of sewer lines gets blocked virtually every day, and discarded cooking oil is the reason 60% of the time. But in parts of Queens, that grease is the culprit in nearly 80% of all sewer backups, a problem that is especially acute near Kennedy Airport.
Experts say one reason Queens' sewers get blocked so often is that a lot of food is prepared in the city's most diverse borough, where residents, who hail from 120 different countries, might not be familiar with the best grease-handling practices.
In an effort to educate the public on the ills of grease dumping, last year the city enlisted interns from the Summer Youth Employment Program to knock on neighborhood doors as part of its Cease the Grease campaign. The teenagers visited more than 50,000 Queens households and 1,000 restaurants to remind people that used cooking oil and fat should be sealed in nonrecyclable containers and thrown out with the rest of the trash, not poured down the sink.
But grease has been blocking big city sewers practically since the pipes were laid. In 1859, a Brooklyn sewer commissioner observed that "melted grease is very objectionable." Two years ago in London, an 11-ton mound of congealed fat was extracted from a sewer, requiring more than $600,000 in repairs.
Grease causes sewer backups all over the city, but they most commonly occur in certain Queens neighborhoods including South Jamaica and St. Albans, where more than 4,800 complaints were made in the past five years, an average of nearly three per day. The city received almost 15,000 reports of greasy sewer clogs during that time, according to 311 call logs—numbers that suggest one-third of the most mucked-up city sewers are located in neighborhoods that house less than 5% of New York's 8.5 million residents.
Although some of those sewer problems can be linked to the vast amounts of cooking oil used in preparing dishes such as deviled fish, a deep-fried delicacy on the menu at many Sri Lankan restaurants in southeastern Queens, experts say the chronic backups mostly reflect the area's history and geography.
Sewer pipes in southeastern Queens tend to be 10 inches in diameter, Adamski said—less than half the typical size in other boroughs—because they were installed decades ago, when the area was relatively undeveloped. Southeastern Queens is also a flood basin, so its streets and basements are vulnerable to sewer backups after even modest rainfalls. The problem's origins go back to the 1940s, when a natural drainage area was paved over to build runways for JFK. Moreover, the area's groundwater table has steadily risen during the past decade or so. Climate change is a factor, and so is the fact that the city no longer pumps the ground wells that once provided the area's drinking water.
Oh Boy! Wait until the city council, BDB and MMV get ahold of this one. I can imagine it now a surtax on cooking oil a surtax on ANYTHING that remotely uses any sort of grease. And it's all for your good kids!
The city will never see compliance from these people...they don't care about people, animals, the environment, the planet...only their bank accounts and their unecessary spawn!
In how many languages are we going to print the new grease regulations?
I can say with great certainty that those causing the problems will not read nor comply...
Who would pour cooking oil down their drains??? I guess people like having the plumber there cleaning their drains out?
Just put it in a sealed container and dispose of it on the trash.
Sometimes people cause their own problems.
Maybe Joe Yabbadabadoo can hold a greese recycling event
If they only knew that you can sell your used cooking oil to be processed into biodiesel. We will pay them and take it away!
Call us and we will take care of the problem - (800) 571-7171
Had to throw Climate Change in there.
The summer youth program hired youth to knock on doors? I would be afraid to open my door to a group of summer youth.
why not public service announcements on TV and radio? Or articles in those free papers? would be more effective than having no shows pretend to knock on doors.
The folks doing this are ignorant dumb uneducated people, many from third world countries and the other ones are just ignorant dumb education born and bred.
I mean you see where the problem is, the uneducated dumb shits of SE Queens.
some more great diversity!
" I can imagine it now a surtax on cooking oil a surtax on ANYTHING that remotely uses any sort of grease."
Oh, dont worry. most of the culprits will be "Exempt" because it would be unfairly discriminatory to their cultures if they couldn't just pour grease into the system
I normally wouldn't call people that eat at McDonald's a culture but ok.
>>culprits will be "Exempt" because it would be unfairly discriminatory to their cultures
Climate Change? Really? Warmer weather causes the grease to congeal harder?
I'm trying to think of containers that aren't recyclable that can enclose cooking oil... Can anyone help me? I pour used cooking oil in my kitchen trash once there is enough material in there to absorb it.
Diverse borough. Diverse cultures.
Nobody knows nothin' !!!
Vibrant, bustling, diverse.....synonym for slum!
Flooshing wrote the book on this practice.
It has been observed, years back, that manholes were opened late at night, where restaurant workers dumped more solid food wastes directly into the sewers. That included meat scraps, vegetable material and fats.
Where is the Flooshing BID? Busy hanging holiday lighting while the unobserved shit flushes into the Flishing River.
I usually put my cooled off cooking oil in empty Wesson oil containers,detergent bottles, orange juice bottles. I use the same bottle each time until it gets full then I discard.
It's supremely retarded that these comparably thin ass pipes have remained there despite the growing population and development, and or course in the vicinity of a major airport.
It's interesting, though informative which is what journalism lacks these days, that this was published in Crains. Which means that this was probably noticed by developer types, which means either they are taking precautions about where they want to put their out of scale towers or more likely hotels or their lobbyists are working to finally upgrade the system with bigger pipes for their plans. It's too bad that this didn't get done earlier.
And people sure are stupid. I remember as a child not to dump grease down the drain, although I seen it done by other people back then and they were Italian, a nationality that loves eggplant, chicken and veal cutlets, so this negligence has precedent.
Climate change is a factor now because sea level has noticeably rose dramatically in the coastal areas in the greasy southeast. Even in Howard and Hamilton Beaches. So this is going to fuck things up for homeowners and local businesses more around here if the infrastructure doesn't get upgraded. And knowing where this city, states and even country's priorities are, sadly, it's not going to fucking happen.
Like I said, people sure are stupid, the Simpsons even tried to advise us.
I have an old tomato can near my kitchen sink, as my mom did.
No use clogging up my own home's pipes with grease and have to get a plumber.
I have painted it a nice color and have labeled it, "MY FAT CAN".
It reminds me about exercising so as not to have my own fat ass.
All you got to do is add lye and glycerin and grease becomes diesel fuel.
And what does the lye, pray tell, do to your vehicles engine parts?
You use it as diesel fuel and get fucked. Me....I separate it.
Whatever floats your boat, my man.
Climate change is a factor now
Of course it is. Is called separating fools from their money aka "carbon tax".
Total junk science with major political/financial ramifications.
In the bad old days people would change the oil in their cars and dump the used oil down the sewers.I bet this still goes on even though nowadays service stations must accept oil for recycling.I wonder if restaurants have to pay for their used oil to be collected or the company takes it or free and reuses it then resells it.My buddy has a VW diesel truck that runs on cooking oil and gets good mileage.He's happy except his truck always smells like French fries and he's always getting the munchies.
reportedly, Willie Nelson tour bus runs on "greasel".
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