This holiday season, utilities across Brevard County have joined together to remind residents to protect their pipes by keeping FOG — Fats, Oils and Grease — out of the sewer system.
FOG comes from a variety of food sources, including food scraps, cooking oil, shortening, lard, butter, margarine, gravy, mayonnaise, salad dressings, sour cream, meat scraps and more. While it may seem practical and harmless to get rid of FOG by rinsing it off your dishes or pouring it down the kitchen sink, doing so can lead to huge problems and expensive repairs down the road.
Oils and grease rinsed down the drain cool, congeal (solidify) and block your sewer (or ours), which will require you to call a plumber, or us to send out our wastewater crews to a City clog. This can in turn cause untreated wastewater to back up into homes and businesses, or to overflow from manholes into parks, yards, streets, storm drains and eventually the Indian River Lagoon.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your pipes and the greater sewer system from FOG:
- Never pour cooking oil, pan drippings, bacon grease, salad dressings or sauces down the sink or toilet (or into street gutters or storm drains).
- 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 of oil and grease, such as what’s left over from frying a turkey, contact a local recycler. Or mix clay cat 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, and then dispose of it in your regular trash.
- Scrape pots and pans into the trash to remove oil and grease and food scraps before washing them.
- Don’t use a garbage disposal or food grinder. Grinding food up before rinsing it down the drain does not remove FOG; it just makes the pieces smaller.
- 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.
Blocked drains can ruin your holiday festivities. A few simple clean up steps like these will help protect the pipes in your home. Keeping FOG out of the sewer system helps everyone in the community!