Fats, oils and grease - FOG - comes from meat fats in food scraps, cooking oil, shortening, lard, butter and margarine, gravy and food products such as mayonnaise, salad dressings and sour cream.

FOG poured down kitchen drains accumulates inside sewer pipes. As the FOG builds up, it restricts the flow in the pipe and can cause untreated wastewater to back up into homes and businesses, resulting in high costs for cleanup and restoration.  

Manholes can overflow into parks, yards, streets and storm drains, allowing FOG to contaminate local waters, including drinking water. Exposure to untreated wastewater is a public-health hazard. 

FOG discharged into septic systems and drain fields can cause malfunctions, resulting in more frequent tank pump-outs and other expenses. 

Restaurants, cafeterias, and fast-food establishments spend tens of thousands of dollars on plumbing emergencies each year to deal with grease blockages and to pump out grease traps and interceptors. Some cities also charge businesses for the repair of sewer pipes and spill cleanup if they can attribute the blockage to a particular business. Some cities also add a surcharge to wastewater bills if a business exceeds a specified discharge limit. These expenses can be significant. 

Communities spend billions of dollars every year unplugging or replacing grease-blocked pipes, repairing pump stations and cleaning up costly and illegal wastewater spills. Excessive FOG in the sewer system can affect local wastewater rates.

So, keeping FOG out of the sewer system helps everyone in the community.

What You Can Do to Reduce FOG
Just a few simple actions can prevent FOG buildup in the sewer system

  • In Your Home or Apartment
    quick and easy ways to prevent FOG from going down your drain. Some cities that sponsor collections of hazardous household waste accept used cooking oil. Check with you local contact to find out if your community accepts cooking oil. If your community is not listed, call your solid waste service to check.   Following these dos and don'ts will help you and your neighbors avoid expensive sewer backups, plumbing emergencies, and rate increases to cover sewer maintenance and repairs, while helping protect water quality in your community.
    • Do
      • Recycle used cooking oil or properly dispose of it by pouring it into a sealable container and placing the sealed container in the trash. To recycle large amounts, such as what's left over from a catfish fry or frying a turkey, contact a local recycler by looking in the yellow pages under "Greases" or "Rendering". If you have a lot of oil to dispose of, use clay cat litter. Just mix the litter, a little at a time, into the oil. When all the oil has been absorbed, pour the cat litter into a trash bag, seal the bag, then dispose of it in your regular trash.
      • Scrape food scraps into the trash, not the sink.
      • Wipe pots, pans, and dishes with dry paper towels before rinsing or washing them. Then throw away the paper towels.
      • Place a catch basket or screen over the sink drain when rinsing dishware, or when peeling or trimming food, to catch small scraps that would otherwise be washed down the drain. Throw the scraps in the trash.
      • Rinse dishes and pans with cold water before putting them in the dishwasher. Hot water melts the fats, oils, and grease (FOG) off the dishes and into the sewer pipes. Later on in the sewer, the hot water will cool and the FOG will clog the pipes.
    • Don't
      • Don't use a garbage disposal or food grinder. Grinding food up before rinsing it down the drain does not remove the FOG; it just makes the pieces smaller. Even non-greasy food scraps can plug your home's sewer lines. So don't put food of any kind down the drain.
      • Don't pour cooking oil, pan drippings, bacon grease, salad dressings, or sauces down the sink or toilet, or into street gutters or storm drains.
      • Don't use cloth towels or rags to scrape plates or clean greasy or oily dishware. When you wash them, the grease will end up in the sewer.
      • Don't run water over dishes, pans, fryers, and griddles to wash oil and grease down the drain.
  • In Your Commercial Kitchen
    how to implement a program to reduce FOG in commercial kitchens in food service establishments, churches, nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other businesses. Any business or institution with a commercial kitchen has to deal with fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Commercial kitchens are found in restaurants, hospitals, churches, hotels, nursing homes, mobile food preparation facilities, etc. Using best management practices such as those listed on the poster No Grease Down The Drain can:
    • Lessen the likelihood of losing revenue to emergency shutdowns caused by sewage backups and expensive bills for plumbing and property repairs
    • Lessen the likelihood of lawsuits by nearby businesses over sewer problems caused by your negligence
    • Lessen the likelihood of lawsuits from workers or the public exposed to raw sewage during a backup
    • Reduce the number of times you have to pump and clean your grease interceptors or traps
    • Lessen the likelihood of surcharges from your local sewer authority, or chargebacks for repairs to sewer pipes attributable to your FOG
    • Reduce testing requirements imposed due to a history of violations
    • Lessen the likelihood of enforcement action by local authorities due to violations of ordinances
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