Barracks Row sewer line clogged by ‘mountain’ of restaurant grease

December 3, 2018

DC Water workers spent six hours Sunday clearing a “massive mountain of grease” from a clogged sewer line at Barracks Row, a utility spokesman says.

Workers investigated and water-blasted hundreds of pounds of fat and grease “that had caked together on the side of the line,” said spokesman Vincent Morris, who videotaped crews blasting the globs with a high-power fire hose.

“Some of the bigger chunks there were probably 15 to 20 pounds,” he told The Washington Times of the scene in Southeast. “There were multiple sections of that fat that was washed down the sewer line from that hose.”

Mr. Morris noted that level of grease buildup was “unusually big and concerning” and said DC Water believes it was caused by local restaurants not disposing of cooking oil properly. The utility says it’s narrowing down the number of responsible eateries on Barracks Row.

The D.C. Department of Health requires restaurants to have contracts with services that collect cooking grease to maintain their licenses with the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

DC Water urges residents to help prevent fat buildups by collecting their used cooking grease in a can and storing it in a freezer until it’s full and can be thrown out with the trash.

Properly disposing of fats and grease properly is important because they congeal into solids in sewer lines, acting “like a rubber stopper,” Mr. Morris said.

“It’ll block the sewer line, and then all that odor backs up in the restaurants [or homes], then the sewage can back up,” he said.

Happening now: Hundreds of pounds of congealed fat and grease blasted loose w/ fire hose by ⁦@dcwater⁩ crew on ⁦@BarracksRow⁩ ⁦@capitalcommnews⁩ ⁦@CapitolHillBID⁩ #fatberg pic.twitter.com/iLTdFk5QXe Vincent Morris (@VincentMorris) December 1, 2018

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