Fog In The Home
Fats, oils, and grease (FOG), the residue from cooking meats such as bacon that hardens after it cools, can cause problems when it's washed down the drain. While FOG can clog pipes in your home, it can also clog the sewer pipes under the streets that take the wastewater from your house to the treatment plant. If that happens, the wastewater can back up and come to the surface and pollute the environment. This can allow untreated sewage to run into the streets and into our storm drains. This is not only a human health hazard but, since storm drains flow to creeks and rivers, this can cause significant environmental damage and impact aquatic life forms. You can avoid unnecessary expense and damage to the sewer system by following a few simple rules.
How to Clean Dishes to Protect Your Pipes
Before washing, scrape or wipe cooled grease and sauces from all dishware including utensils, cookware and plates into the trash or compost.
Prewash dishware in cold water. Avoid using the garbage disposal and hot water. The garbage disposal does not destroy grease, it only makes it smaller. If you have even a little accumulated grease in your pipes, putting food scraps down the drain can clog your pipes faster.
Don’t pour oil or grease down the drain. If a little grease does go down the drain, follow it with cold water.
Plumbers are busiest the day after Thanksgiving. Pouring the fry oil from frying a turkey is a quick way to clog your pipes.
Grease build-up discovered during home kitchen remodel. Photo credit: Jessica Hoffman.
How to Dispose of Grease and Cooking Oil
Dispose of large quantities of cooking oil by contacting your community environmental coordinator or your nearest household hazardous waste collection station to find out if used cooking oil is accepted. Learn more about drop-off locations and city services at www.TimeToRecycle.com. You can also reuse fry oil by filtering and freezing it after it has cooled.
Small amounts of grease, such as meat drippings, can be soaked up with a paper towel and thrown into the trash.
If you have a larger amount of grease, let it cool, then pour or scrape the solidifying grease into a sturdy closed-lid container, like a coffee can, and dispose of it in the trash. (Some cities also accept grease for recycling - contact your city for more information.)