Fat Free Sewers
Put your sewer on a low fat diet. Please keep Fats, Oils and Greases (FOG) out of your kitchen sink!
Preventing Damage to Your Home & the Environment
Fats, Oils, and Greases aren’t just bad for your arteries and your waistline; they’re bad for sewers too. Sewer overflows and back-ups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment. An increasingly common cause of overflows is sewer pipes blocked by grease. Grease gets into the sewer from household drains as well as poorly maintained grease traps in restaurants and other businesses.
About the Grease
Most of us know grease as the byproduct of cooking. Grease is found in things as:
- Baking goods
- Butter and margarine
- Cooking oil
- Dairy products
- Food scraps
- Meat fats
Too often, grease is washed into the plumbing system, usually through the kitchen sink. Grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe.
Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system. These units only shred solid material into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease from going down the drain. Commercial additives, including detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass grease down the line and cause problems in other areas.
The result could be:
- An expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the homeowner
- An increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which cause higher sewer bills for customers
- Potential contact with disease-causing organisms
- Raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home
- Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets
How We Can Help
The easiest way to solve the grease problem and help prevent overflows of raw sewage is to keep this material out of the sewer system in the first place.
These are several ways we can help:
- Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
- Scrape grease and food scraps from cooking and serving surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal (or recycling where available).
- Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put basket/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain/strainers into trash for disposal.
- Speak with your friends and neighbors about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out.
Grease Traps for Restaurant & Building Owners
Restaurant, large building (such as apartment complexes), and other commercial establishments may have grease traps or interceptors that keep grease out of the sewer system. For grease trap or interceptor to work correctly, it must be properly:
- Designed (sized and manufactured to handle the amount that is expected)
- Installed (level, vented, etc.)
- Maintained (cleaned and serviced on a frequent basis)
Solids should never be put into grease traps or interceptors. Routine, often daily, maintenance of grease traps and interceptors is needed to ensure that they properly reduce or prevent blockages. Be cautious of chemicals and additives (including soaps and detergents) that claim to dissolve grease. Some of these additives simply pass grease down pipes where it can clog the sewer lines in another area.
Information above was prepared from the Water Environment Federation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information please contact or visit the following:
- City of Archdale, Public Works Department at 336-434-7362
- Water Environment Federation or 800-666-0206
- North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance or 800-763-0136
- Environmental Protection Agency or 800-241-1754
- Fats Oil and Grease Ordinance (PDF)