Fats, oils and greases aren’t just bad for arteries and waistlines – they’re bad for sewers too. Fat, oil and grease from cooking and food are a real “pain in the drain” because they all contribute to buildup in pipes and are the major cause of problems like blockages in sewer lines. They may not appear to be harmful, but things like oil, butter, margarine, shortening, pan drippings, dairy products and sauces solidify into masses that can clog sewer lines. This buildup restricts flow and leads to sewer spills which can be extremely expensive for homeowners.
In addition to sewer spills, pouring grease down the drain can lead to other problems as well including clogged drains or toilets; sewage backups into your home; sewer overflows in neighborhood parks, yards and streets; rancid odors; potential contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause illness; expensive cleanup, repair and replacement of damage property and higher operating and maintenance costs for Conway Corp potentially resulting in higher sewer bills for you.
Once in a pipe, grease never goes away. Over time, any household can put enough grease down a drain to clog its pipes and create serious problems. Even a little bit of grease here and there builds up over time and will soon be a problem. Apartments are especially vulnerable to grease clogs because there are so many kitchens draining into the sewer system at one point.
The best way to prevent sewer problems is to never pour fat, oil or grease down the drain. Instead, Conway Corp encourages customers to Can the Grease. Let grease cool down, collect it in a container and throw it away in the trash. You can make your own grease can using any empty metal container like a soup or vegetable can. Just toss the cans after full or use disposable, heat-resistant oven bags and reuse the can. Please use caution when pouring hot grease or wait for it to cool slightly as hot grease can burn skin.
Don’t believe the myth that it’s okay to pour grease down the drain as long as you run hot water at the same time. No amount of hot water keeps grease from eventually congealing, and once it cools it will stick to the walls of the pipes and create expensive and messy problems of sewer backups.
Following a few other dos and don’ts will help you and your neighbors avoid expensive sewer backups, plumbing emergencies and rate increases to cover sewer maintenance and repairs while helping protect water quality in the Conway community.
- Recycle used cooking oil or properly dispose of it by pouring it into a sealable container and placing the sealed container in the trash. To recycle large amounts, contact a local recycler or use clay cat litter. Mix the oil a little at a time with the litter. When all the oil has been absorbed, pour the cat litter into a trash bag, seal the bag, then dispose of it in your regular trash.
- Wipe or scrape your dishes before washing them. Commercial additives in detergents only dissolve grease temporarily.
- Scrape food scraps from dishes into trash cans, garbage bags or compost piles.
- Remove excess oils from pots and pans with a paper towel and throw away the towel in a trash can.
- Remove oil and grease from dishes, pans, fryers and griddles.
- Use strainers in sink drains when rinsing dishware or peeling or trimming or food to collect small food scraps that would otherwise be washed down the drain then throw away the scraps in the trash.
- Rinse dishes with cold water before putting them in the dishwasher. Hot water melts the fats, oils and grease off the dishes and into the sewer pipes.
- Never pour grease down sinks, toilets or any drains including storm gutters or storm drains. Even a tablespoon can cause serious damage.
- Avoid using your garbage disposal. It grinds food but doesn’t keep grease from going down the drain.
- Don’t use cloth towels or rags to scrape plates or clean greasy or oily dishware. When you wash them, the grease will still end up in the sewer.
In addition to helping residential customers learn about grease control, Conway Corp works with food service facilities to help prevent grease-related problems by requiring best kitchen practices and guidelines. If you have questions about grease or about sewer system operations and maintenance for residential or commercial accounts, call Conway Corp at 450-6000 or click here to email.