Launch Slideshow

Image

Fun With Fats

Fun With Fats

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmpA33%2Etmp_tcm111-1343543.jpg?width=300

    true

    Image

    300

    Grease Management Supervisor James Jones (left) and Water Quality Associate II Bo Mathews dispensed magnets and pencils during a public workshop in July on how greasy food residues cause backups and overflows. Photo: Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmpA34%2Etmp_tcm111-1343547.jpg?width=300

    true

    Image

    300

    Gwinnett County's public-awareness campaign centers around three characters: the Fats Fiend, the Oil Offender, and the Grease Goblin. Images: Jordan, Jones & Goulding

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmpA36%2Etmp_tcm111-1343551.jpg?width=250

    true

    Image

    250

    Launched last summer, wwwunclogthefog.com includes educational brochures, frequently asked questions, videos, childrens' activities, and helpful links. Image: Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmpA38%2Etmp_tcm111-1343555.jpg?width=300

    true

    Image

    300

    The Unclog the FOG Web site includes puzzles that test how well students have internalized what the Web site teaches. Image: Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmpA35%2Etmp_tcm111-1343550.jpg?width=300

    true

    Image

    300

    Many people believe that garbage disposals can handle fats, oils, and greases, but all they really do is chop up the problem and move it downstream. Images: Jordan, Jones & Goulding

  • Image

    http://www.pwmag.com/Images/tmpA37%2Etmp_tcm111-1343552.jpg?width=300

    true

    Image

    300

    In addition to a communications program that integrates the Internet with in-person educational presentations, restaurant grease trap inspections minimize greasy buildup on sewer lines. Photo: Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources

Gwinnett County (Ga.)

Department of Water Resources

Miles of sewer pipeline: 2,650

No. sewer customers: 146,000

Consultants: Jordan, Jones and Goulding, Atlanta

Program development: $53,000

Average No. monthly visitors: 60


In a three-year time frame through 2008, 90% of the sewer overflows on residential service lines in Gwinnett County, Ga., were related to backups caused by fats, oil, and grease (FOG). Having worked extensively with restaurants to minimize buildup on commercial pipelines, Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources managers realized they'd need to launch another awareness campaign — this time, for homeowners.

Located 30 miles northeast of down-town Atlanta, Gwinnett was one of the nation's fastest growing counties in the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s. By 2007, more than 776,000 people called the county home; 2025 population projections surpass 1 million.

In 2008, the department updated the decade-old ordinance with which businesses must comply to connect to the sewer system, implementing requirements specifically for disposing of fats, oils, and grease. But the department doesn't have similar regulatory authority over home-owners. Managers hoped that, by learning how what goes down the drain or through the garbage disposal contributes to sewage overflows in their home or neighborhood, residents would begin throwing out cooking residue rather than flushing it down the sink.

The department needed a public education program that makes that connection in the average homeowner's mind. It also had to be fun, appealing to both children and adults.

Through the department's demand-services contract, managers requested that Jordan, Jones and Goulding (JJG) develop content for a Web site and other out-reach components. After brainstorming by employees of both organizations produced a theme — Unclog the FOG — the department secured the URL of the same name to be housed within the county's Web site at www.gwinnettcounty.com.