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The City of Atlanta concluded its negotiations in December 1999, with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) resulting in therecording of a consent decree and dismissal of a lawsuit against the City for violation of federal and state water quality regulations. It required, in part, the preparation and implementation of a 10-element management, operation and maintenance (MOM) program for the City's 1600-mile wastewater collection and transmission systems, including a Grease Control Program ("the Program"), as a measure to help control sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). The City currently experiences over 575 spills a year, down from approximately 1,000 spills in 2000.

Watershed Management, the responsible City department, has approximately three years of experience with the fully implemented Program. During this period, the City has issued over 200 notices of violation. Additionally, over 50 citations have been issued for unresolved or repeat violations at time of re-inspection of grease traps. The department's Pollution Control Monitors have worked closely with municipal court in aggressively prosecuting errant food service establishments (FSEs) to the fullest extent permissible under City ordinance. The number of sewer spills attributable to grease-related blockages or in combination with other causes like tree roots or other debris, has decreased approximately 50 percent from 2001, since inception of the Program.

This paper reviews Program objectives and their impacts on collection system performance to date. It explains resource requirements in the areas of management, inspection, administrative and judicial personnel and how the City has optimized the use of its work force in achieving its grease control objectives. Lessons learned are shared that can benefit other agencies.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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