More than 3,000 miles of sanitary sewer lines serve 480,000 people in Jefferson County. This vital function makes it possible for customers to rise in the morning, get ready for work or school, and not have to think about what happens to their waste water after showering, brushing teeth, or flushing! One challenge to the operation of the sanitary sewer system is the buildup of fats, oils, and grease – FOG – in the sewer lines. Over time, these substances can create clogs and result in backups that cause sewage to overflow into homes, yards, streets, and waterways. Not only are these events costly to repair, they also can be a health hazard. One main source of FOG in the sewer system is households.
No matter what you cook or how you cook it, there usually is some fat, oil or grease involved in the process. When the holiday meals are over and it’s time to wash the stack of plates, pots, pans, and casserole dishes piled in the sink, take a few minutes to make sure that FOG doesn’t wash down the kitchen drain. Even if you have a garbage disposal or use hot water and detergent, it will not prevent FOG buildup in your plumbing or the sewer system. If you are connected to a septic system, a similar scenario applies – FOG can build up and cause your septic system to malfunction.
The good news is that the solution is easy! Discard in the trash unwanted food scraps from plates and cookware. Any remaining FOG can be cooled and poured or scraped into a plastic or metal container with a lid and taken to the nearest Jefferson County cooking oil recycling station. New recycling containers are available to you for free at all recycling stations. Preventing FOG from going down the drain can go a long way toward reducing plumbing emergencies and unhealthy sewer overflows.