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Sewer backups prompt changes to city legislation

Date: 8/17/2010

Aug. 18, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Recent incidences of plugged or compromised portions of the Agawam's sewer system has prompted city officials to amend portions of the Water and Sewers code.

Changes to the code, if approved by the City Council, will require any facilities that prepare food to install interceptors, separators and holding tanks to ensure the proper management and discharge of fats, oils, grease and grit.

"Greases and oils are sticky and are like a plaque . and accumulate over time in sewer mains [creating] blockages into residences and businesses," Anthony Sylvia, superintendent of the Department of Public Works, explained.

The substances don't usually corrode sewer pipes, he noted, however, the blockages can cause significant backups and flooding.

Mayor Richard Cohen assured that the amendments were to bring city ordinance into compliance with state plumbing code; however, Sylvia said clogged sewer mains are the driving force for change.

The interceptors, separators and holding tanks will be required at restaurants, banquet facilities and any facility with on-site food preparation, processing or handling by Sept. 1, 2011, provided the city council passes the resolution.

The council's Ordinance Committee will review the resolution on Sept. 7 at 6:15 p.m., prior to the 7 p.m. City Council meeting.

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