The WaterWise team recently learned about a productive partnership between our own Environmental Services division and a group of Frisco students from McSpedden Elementary known as Gravity 7. We would like to share this success story with you this week, and help further the kids’ mission to spread the word about FOG.
Recently a group of Frisco students at McSpedden Elementary participated in a Destination Imagination competition. This group, Gravity 7, focused on raising awareness of the problems caused by FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease) when sent down our drains. These students amassed research about the many ways FOG accumulates in city pipes, and how everyday residents can help combat this problem.
As part of their project (November 17 – December 5), Gravity 7 students learned that FOG can cause major problems when improperly disposed of down drains. While FOG can clog your pipes at home, it can also clog sewer pipes that are used to transport wastewater to treatment plants. If wastewater gets backed up, it could potentially pollute the environment. This may result in untreated wastewater running down the street and into our city’s storm drains and watersheds. And since storm drains flow to creeks and rivers, this could not only have an impact on human health, but also aquatic life forms.
Many people do not realize that municipalities spend millions of dollars annually on the cleanup of grease clogs. During the course of the Gravity 7 project, there was a grease clog in Frisco. Although our drinking water was not impacted, extensive cleanup was required. This is just one example of why the Gravity 7 project is so important.
During a field trip to Frisco’s Environmental Collection Center on December 6, 2016, Gravity 7 learned that Frisco residents can prevent these hazardous environmental impacts by collecting FOG in a container and disposing of it at Frisco’s Environmental Collection Center. The ECC then sends the collected FOG off for recycling where it is made into biodiesel. In this way, we can all protect Frisco’s pipes from damage, save space in our landfills, create a new product, and save money on costly cleanup efforts.
Over the course of their project, Gravity 7, helped to educate their neighbors on the proper disposal of FOG, and even collected 50 gallons of used cooking oil and grease. Gravity 7’s project had a positive impact on their local neighborhood and helped to set the stage for a larger education and outreach campaign that will reach all of Frisco.
And in case you were wondering, Gravity 7 took third place! Congratulations!