Don't Blame the Fatbergs: Collapsed Pipe Caused NYC Sewage Backup

(UC) — New York City officials initially named fatbergs as the likely suspect when 127 homes were flooded with raw sewage last month. But an investigation found that the flooding was caused by a collapsed pipe, opening the city to liability damages that could reach millions of dollars, according to the New York Times.

The Times reported that the city's Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.) had determined the flooding was caused by a collapsed pipe, according to a report obtained by the newspaper that had not been released publicly. The department accepted responsibility in the report.

Some residents of the South Jamaica area of Queens had said they felt they were being blamed when officials suggested the cause of the incident was grease being poured down sinks.

New York's D.E.P. is responsible for 7,500 miles of sewers, 95 pumping stations and 14 plants and says these types of events are extremely rare.

“We do a good job keeping the water moving through the pipes. But, you know, once every five years or so, something like this occurs,” the D.E.P.'s chief, Vincent Sapienza, told the New York Times.

At the time of the incident, Sapienza told The Associated Press: "This time of year we get a lot of grease blockages in sewers from residents that discharge grease.  We're under the assumption that's what this is."


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