November 19, 2015

You probably already know not to pour grease down the kitchen drain. But what about the holiday turkey and gravy? Or the skins from the potatoes or the leftover pumpkin pie? Unfortunately, they’re also sources of fats, oil and grease – known as FOG – and some of the leading causes of sewer damage and backups.

GreasepipeBecause the sewers receive water from thousands of kitchens, the smallest amount of grease and oil can build up and completely clog a pipe as the fats and grease cling to the inside of drains and sewer pipes. FOG released into the sewer system is the leading cause of line blockages, which can ultimately cause sewer overflows, odors and pipe damage. And maybe worse – as you’re preparing your holiday meal and have a house full of family and friends – FOG washed down the drain can quickly result in a partial or complete backup of your home’s sewer system, causing a messy and costly plumbing emergency.

Remember, garbage disposals only shred solids and don’t prevent grease from food from building up. Hot water or a dishwasher might melt the grease and push it further down the drain, but it will only solidify again once it cools, causing a build-up in the main sewer system. Chemicals that claim to dissolve grease will only temporarily push the grease, affecting neighboring lines.

Helpful tips to prevent FOG from entering the drain:

  • Pour cooking oils and grease into a small container with absorbent material, such as a paper towel or coffee grounds, and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Scrape food from dishes into the trash (not the garbage disposal) and wipe down greasy plates, pots and pans with a paper towel before washing.
  • Prevent food from entering your sewer by covering your kitchen sink drain with a strainer and limiting your use of garbage disposals.

For more information about fats, oil and grease, please visit your local water provider’s website. Click here for more tips about how to use water wisely in the kitchen.

Happy Holidays from Water – Use It Wisely!

Nicole Sherbert is the Public Information Officer for Scottsdale Water. The city of Scottsdale is one of fifteen Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water saving advice and programs.