The FOG Problem
Ah, finally, you can sit down and relax. The smell of turkey and all the fixings is still heavy in the air. Your holiday dinner was a success! The dishes are done and you managed to find enough Tupperware containers (let alone found the matching lids) to hold all of the leftovers!
But wait -- not everything is okay. Unknown to you, the grease from the roasting pan is now mixing with the fat and oil in the gravy you washed down the sink, and has started to congeal in your drain pipes. The plate scrapings you put in the garbage disposal have mixed with the hardening goop and clogged the four-inch sewer line that flows from your house to the City’s sewer main.
Enjoy your time on the couch now because you may be in for a long and expensive day tomorrow. When you wake up in the morning, you may find that showers won’t drain, sinks are clogged and toilets won’t flush. Oh my!
Wait, there’s more. You will now spend a good part of your morning trying to find a plumber willing to come in and work on a holiday weekend to clean your sewer line. Just think what that could cost!
How could all of this be avoided?
As we all know, cooking renders out the fats, oils and grease that are stored in foods. We refer to these fats, oils and grease as FOG. Other sources of FOG are waste cooking oil, shortening and butter. All the things that make holiday dishes taste so good. But all of this FOG is bad for your sewer line. The FOG hardens and collects every day all year long and, in time, clogs your sewer.
Every year, hundreds of homes and business in Redmond encounter FOG-related blockages in their sewer lines resulting in thousands of dollars spent in cleanup costs, not to mention any water damage costs that may occur. The City also spends substantial sums to clean sewer lines and prevent blockages. A blockage in the City’s sewer line has the potential to damage our fragile wetlands and waterways, costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in cleanup fees and fines.
Okay, you probably want the meat and potatoes (pardon the pun) of how to prevent FOG problems. Just a few easy steps and you are on your way to sewer pipe bliss:
- Scrape plates and place all food scraps in your food recycling container. If you have a yard waste tote, all food scraps can go in there to be turned into compost. You can put them in a brown paper bag, or a compostable bag, or just directly into the tote. For a free roll of compostable bags call 425-556-2897 (one roll per household). For a free kitchen food scraps bucket and roll of compostable bags, just call Waste Management at 1-800-592-9995 and they will deliver it to any resident living within city limits. If you do not have yard waste service, put your food scraps in your trash. The use of your garbage disposal only adds large solids to your pipes.
- Wipe out all pots and pans with a paper towel, and put the towel in your food scraps recycling, or the trash. This will remove FOG that would normally go down the drain.
- Pour waste cooking oil, frying oil, gravies and sauces into containers and then dispose of them in the garbage.
- Use your garbage can for trash. Putting cleaning rags, diapers, plastic and rubber items down the toilet clogs pipes and pumps, resulting in blockages and increased maintenance costs.
Follow those easy tips to avoid a bunch of costly and time-consuming problems. Taking a few extra minutes to properly dispose of food, oil and grease, before you wash your dishes, can have a big effect on you, your city and your environment. Thank you for your help in preventing pollution by reducing FOG.
For more information, contact Redmond Wastewater Division of Public Works at 425-556-2827.