City of Shreveport urges residents 'make peace with your pipes'

Dec 15, 2015

The city of Shreveport has launched a campaign to curb the amount of grease, oils and fat people pour down their sink.

Chris Warren, the city of Shreveport's pretreatment supervisor and LaTonya Williams, pretreatment inspector, display literature as part of the 'Make Peace With Your Pipes' campaign.
Credit Kate Archer Kent

It’s dubbed “Make Peace With Your Pipes.” About 14,000 small grease can kits with heat-resistant liner bags are being distributed in problem areas of Shreveport where blockages in the pipes cause costly overflows into the sanitary sewer.

The city is urging residents to scrape leftovers and cooking grease into the trash. Garbage disposals compound the problem, according to the city of Shreveport’s pretreatment supervisor Chris Warren.

“That is, to me, the source of terror in the sewer right there is that it’s one of our worst enemies. All of the food scraps that contain fats, oils and grease that we don’t think about -- even healthy salads with dressing on them --  we tend to just dump them down into the sink and turn on the garbage disposal,” Warren said.

Warren deals with about 10 sewer backups a month. About half are caused by excess grease buildup in pipes, he says.

LaTonya Williams, the city’s pretreatment inspector, handles grease trap compliance for more than 500 restaurants and businesses that prepare food. She says when a restaurant hasn’t had its grease trap cleaned on a regular basis, she issues a notice of violation and inspects herself.

“It stinks. It stinks a whole lot, but you get used to the smell. The lids are kind of heavy. I would say some weigh up to 50 or 60 pounds. Sometimes they are difficult to get off,” Williams said. “Once you get one off sometimes you see things that you shouldn’t see inside of a grease trap like forks, cups and broken plates.”

The city is asking residents to dry wipe pots and pans with a paper towel before washing, avoid using the garbage disposal, and cool grease in a sealable container and then throw it in the trash.

Warren says his office is now issuing businesses permits to post that demonstrate grease trap compliance, much like a health inspection permit.