Fat-Free Sewers

How to Prevent Fats, Oils, & Grease From Damaging Your Home
Fats, oils, and grease aren’t just bad for your arteries and your waistline; they’re bad for sewers too. Sewer overflows and backups 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 from poorly maintained grease traps in restaurants and other businesses.
Most of us know grease as the byproduct of cooking. Grease is found in such things as:
  • Meat Fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter and Margarine
  • Food scrapes
  • Baking goods
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products
No grease logo
Too often, grease is washed into the plumbing system, usually through the kitchen sink. Grease sticks to the inside of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the street). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe.

Garbage Disposals & Commercial Additives
Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system. These units only shred solid materials 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.

Too often the results can be:
  • Raw sewerage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home
  • An expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by the homeowner
  • Raw sewerage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets
  • Potential contact with disease-causing organisms
  • An increase in operating and maintenance costs for the village which causes higher sewer bills for the customer
What can we do to 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. There are several ways to do this. Never pour grease down the sink or toilets. Scrape grease and food scrapes from, trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal. Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scrapes and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the trash for disposal. Speak to your friends and neighbors about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out.

Information provided by the Water Environment Federation and the USEPA.