The wastewater collection system has encountered obstructions and blockages caused by grease, fats, and oil build up as a result of the discharge from the numerous restaurants. These restaurants discharge into the Pleasant Valley, South Altoona, and Westerly Interceptor Sewers to the Westerly Treatment Facility and the Fairview, Wehnwood, Juniata Interceptor Sewer to the Easterly Treatment Facility where the grease collects as grease balls within the aerated grit chambers of the Pretreatment Buildings.
Beginning in July 1995, the Altoona Water Authority started issuing permits to the restaurants connected to the collection system. Stipulated in the individual permits is the sampling for surcharge purposes requirement. The quarterly sampling (for BOD, TSS, and n-hexane extractable oil and grease) is accomplished by either Pretreatment Program personnel or local independent laboratories contracted by the permitted restaurant.
In connection with the surcharge program, in November 1995, the Wastewater Division embarked on inoculating the six (6) areas of most reported obstructions and blockages with a bacteria formulated for collection systems to remove grease build up. The inoculation period ended in January 1996 and a monthly maintenance schedule stated in February 1996. The surcharges collected from the restaurants covers the cost of purchasing the ten (10) twenty-five (25#) containers of bacteria bags per year.
Since the initial inoculation and permitting of the food service customers, the obstructions and removal of obstructions has been cut by 75 to 80%. The one area of most concern has obstructions due to the poor design and location of the sewer which contributes to the grease build up within the manholes.
Any questions relating to these programs may be addressed to the Pretreatment Coordinator.