FOG CLOG — A seasonal reminder – keep fats, oil and grease out of your pipes and sewers

By on November 24, 2017

Starting with Thanksgiving and running through New Year’s Day is the prime season for FOG (fats, oil and grease) CLOGS. Candied yams, gravy laden with drippings from the roasting turkey, holiday desserts with copious amounts of butter and sugar and drawn butter served along with the lobster you serve on New Year’s Eve can all lead to a holiday headache when your drain backs up. An expensive visit from the local plumber quickly diagnoses the problem – FOG CLOG, otherwise known as the bane of holiday cooking.

The bad news is that fats, oils and grease can easily clog your pipes and may cause a sewage backup into your home or, worse yet, a sewer spill in the street that goes down the storm drain and leads to problems in the neighborhood or further down line. The good news is that FOG can be prevented by observing a few preventive practices:

  • Do not pour fats, oils and grease down the drain. Dispose of them properly –
    • Wipe down greasy pots and pans with a dry paper towel and dispose of it in your trash (don’t put greasy or food-laden items in your recycling bin.)
    • Do not pour FOG down the garbage disposal or sink drain.
    • Do not use hot water to wash the grease down the drain.
    • Pour cooled oil, fats and grease into a can or other container with a tight lid (coffee can, glass jar or plastic container) and dispose of it in the garbage.
    • Use baskets or strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids – and dispose of them in the trash.
    • If your local recycling center accepts it, drop off large amounts of FOG there, especially if you use a turkey fryer this holiday season and have a large amount of oil leftover.
    • Check to see if your city’s green waste program allows disposal of food scraps – include FOG. It can be recycled into rich compost if your waste program provides such a service.
  • More long-term suggestions to prevent FOG CLOG include:
    • Put a backflow device on your sewer cleanout if you are at risk of a sewer backflow.
    • When planting trees, don’t plant them over your sewer lateral. (A plumber can help identify where the sewer lateral is.)
    • Have a plan to maintain your sewer system annually.

The majority of FOG-related sewer backups and spills originate in residential areas but with a little FOG knowledge and adherence to proper disposal, FOG CLOG can be prevented. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that 65 percent of all sewer spills are FOG-related.

Enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends and help plumbers enjoy the holidays with their loved ones too by preventing FOG!