COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Far worse things could happen during this climate, but a winter weather sewage backup is something that's pretty dreadful.
Experts say being alert and being prepared can help you avoid a messy situation for both your home and wallet.
Sewer backups can happen when fats oils or grease also known as 'fog' are sent down pipes and enter someone's waste water collection system.
"You may have been disposing of grease down the drain with no issues before this, but due to the cold weather, it is solidifying more and now we are seeing the backups," Jennifer Nations, the City of College Station's Water Resource Coordinator said.
Nations says when 'fog' solidifies and mixes with grit rocks and debris in drains, it can turn into something similar like a hard piece of concrete, stopping necessary flow.
"So when you have something like that in your wastewater pipe then the waste water is flowing and there is all of a sudden nowhere for it to go so it's going to go backwards.... and yeah," Nations added.
Nations says these backups tend to happen more in colder weather, with grease solidifying and the water not moving at its normal speed.
She says the excess you may see on the ground is mostly water and is something we can all be on the lookout for in the coming days.
"Another thing we are probably going to see in the next week...We are probably going to see back flow preventers on people's homes, a lot geysers, you are going to see leaks from pipes that are frozen once they start to thaw," Nations added.
She says if you see a manhole overflowing, a suspected water leak or even a power outage call the College Station Utilities dispatch number (855) 528-4278 which is staffed 24/7 where they will take over.
"Our standard procedure is to clean and disinfect the area and remove any material that escaped the manhole. To protect water quality throughout the state, we have rules and procedures for how we maintain our wastewater collection system and reporting procedures for large overflows and large events," Nations added.
Nations says when they respond and treat sewer backups they see an abundance of items creating blockages and buildups including wipes, hair-ties, towels, t-shirts and even bed sheets and want to remind you to only flush what you should.