Today In Surprise

City of Surprise News

Posted on: January 3, 2019

Surprise launches wastewater campaign; encourages residents to Be G.R.O.S.S.


The word “gross” has taken on a new meaning in the city of Surprise! The city is actually urging residents to Be G.R.O.S.S.; that is, Be Guardians Regarding Our Sewer System!

The goal of the G.R.O.S.S. campaign is to educate residents on what should, and should not, be disposed in household drainage systems with the outcome of helping to prevent environmental and maintenance issues in homes and city facilities.

Most people don’t think about what happens to food and waste after it’s disposed down the kitchen sink or flushed down the toilet. However, the city does; we see it daily!

Incorrect items that are flushed or drained will cause clogs in residential pipes. Over time, the clogs cause backups and may even require homeowners to have to replace pipes.

Items that make it past residential property lines and into the city’s sewer system and wastewater treatment facilities cause clogs and maintenance issues resulting in increased costs to operate and replace city wastewater infrastructure.

How much? A new pump to shred rags (floating debris made of hair, wipes, trash, etc.) can cost upwards of $40,000. Screens that help catch missed rags and debris can cost as much as $500,000 to replace!

To help mitigate the high cost of homeowner and city maintenance repairs, Surprise is asking residents to help protect our pipes and sewers by changing harmful flushing and drain-disposal habits. 

Two of the most common “bad” habits that are negatively impacting wastewater systems are the improper disposal of fat, oil and grease food remnants and the use of “flushable” wipes.

Disposing cooking grease and food remnants in a disposable can and throwing it in the garbage is a positive G.R.O.S.S. habit. Residents are also encouraged to use toilet paper, which is designed to disintegrate in under a minute, versus ‘flushable’ wipes that can take hours, even days, to break down in the sewage system. 

Additional habit-transforming tips and G.R.O.S.S. information, is available at

Residents are also encouraged to follow the @SurpriseBeGross Instagram page to view images taken at the city’s wastewater facilities.

Fair warning; the conversation and images are “gross” however the impacts of not being G.R.O.S.S. in Surprise are far greater!

See press release...
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