INDIANAPOLIS – As you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, remember to consider how the foods you dispose of could affect your sewer system for months to come. Fats, oil and grease (FOG) are found in many Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, stuffing and gravy. When washed down the drain, FOG can cause sewer backups.
In 2016, Citizens reports more than one hundred incidents of sewer backups were caused by FOG. While the majority of those reports came during the summer months, the problem likely originated during the holiday season when FOG was washed down sinks and drains.
“When FOG builds in the sewer system, it can reduce the system’s capacity and potentially cause a blockage,” said Jamie Dillard, Director of Wastewater Operations. “Sewer blockages can cause backups at your home which is not only a health hazard but also a signifcant expense to repair.”
FOG enters the sewer system in a liquid state when it’s washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet. Over time, FOG solidifies and attaches to the sewer system’s pipes and joints resulting in a backup. Reducing FOG is easy to do and while it may add a few extra steps to your kitchen cleanup routine, the payoff is well worth it.
How to Dispose of FOG
- Pour fat, oil or grease into a small container. Once it solidifies, place the container in the garbage.
- Wipe grease off pots, pans and dishes before washing them.
- For restaurants or other food preparation establishments, FOG can be a valuable resource as a recyclable. FOG can be sold to rendering companies for use in soaps, fertilizers, and animal feed.
- Do not put used oil, oil-based paints, solvents or other chemicals down sewer lines or storm drains. Dispose of them at an Indianapolis ToxDrop site. For a location, visit indy.gov/ToxDrop.
Citizens must respond to grease blockages in an aggressive manner. Our response includes removal of FOG blockages and investigating the source of origin. Our response may result in fines and penalties as well as the cost associated with FOG removal and sewer cleaning.