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What is a Sanitary Sewer Overflow? Can they occur near me?

What is a Sanitary Sewer Overflow?  Can they occur near me?

sewer overflowThey can occur anywhere, and often do during heavy rain. Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) are discharges of untreated sewage from the sewer line that overflow into the street, to our local waters, and even to the lower levels of your home or basement.  Sign up for the New York Sewer Pollution Right to Know Act to find out when and where SSOs occur. 

Sanitary Sewer Overflows are typically caused by Infiltration into the system from ground water entering cracks in the line, and Inflow of stormwater through manhole covers.  Keeping excess rainwater out of the sanitary system is one more reason to soak up the rain !

SSOs are often caused by grease and non-disposable wipes that can cause blockages in the lines, and backups during heavy rain.  Thousands of tax dollars are spent each year continually cleaning these items out of sewer lines to prevent SSOs.

Spread the word- prevent SSOs and backups into home or onto your property by properly disposing of grease and wipes!

FOG clog pipe

Grease will solidify and build-up in your sewer lines as it does in your arteries!


Never dump fat, oil or grease (FOGs) down the drain. Allow it to cool and solidify, then use a paper towel to wipe the remaining out of the pan and dispose of it in the trash.  You may also collect cooking greases into heat resistant containers that can be disposed once it has cooled and solidified.  Also be mindful of mixtures such as gravy, batters, etc.

Sink FOGs

Click here for additional cited works & resources.


Jennifer Zunino-Smith
Environmental Resource Educator
(845) 429-7085 x125

Last updated June 7, 2023