Inside a sewer or plumbing drain, fat, oil and grease harden to a plaster-like consistency.
Fat, oil and grease accumulations can cause wastewater overflows by blocking the flow inside a sewer.
Fat, oil and grease may also cause back-ups in plumbing drains at residences, businesses, etc.
When a sewer is blocked, wastewater can spill out of a manhole into the natural environment (such as a creek or wooded area), on a street, on residential or business property, etc.
Used cooking oil should be recycled at Orange County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program at 1514 Eubanks Road on Mondays through Fridays from 10 AM to 6 PM, and on Saturdays from 7:30 AM to noon.
- Residents can dispose of small amounts of fat and solidified grease (up to one quart at a time) in a sealed container for disposal with other refuse. (Liquids should not be disposed of with refuse.)
- Businesses and other non-residential customers which produce waste fat, oil and grease must have a grease trap. Grease traps should be cleaned out regularly by a company that recycles fat, oil and grease.
How FOG can cause wastewater overflows
- Waste fat, oil and grease (FOG) may go down the drain and get into sewers from preparing food and washing or other cleaning of utensils, pots, pans, plates, bowls, etc.
- Inside a plumbing system or a public sewer, FOG harden to a plaster-like consistency.
- FOG may accumulate at various locations including those where tree roots have grown into a sewer main.
ABOVE: Fat, oil and grease are beginning to accumulate in a sewer and restrict the flow of wastewater. This picture was taken with a special videocamera we use to inspect our sanitary sewer system.
- When FOG accumulates in a sewer, the FOG blocks the flow of wastewater. A combination of roots and grease is especially likely to block wastewater flow in a sewer.
- When there is a blockage, wastewater will spill out of a manhole into the natural environment, a street or public or private property; or wastewater may back up in a house or other building and overflow from a toilet.
- We clean many of our 300+ miles of sewers each year, but it is not possible to remove all FOG accumulations before they can cause overflows.
Keeping FOG out of drains and sewers
- Prevent fat, oil and grease from going down the drain during food preparation and while washing dishes.
- Scrape or wipe fat, oil and grease off pots, pans, plates, bowls, etc. before washing these items.
- Residents can put small amounts (1 quart or less) of fat and solidified grease in a sealed container for disposal with other refuse.
- Used cooking oil should be recycled at Orange County’s Household Hazardous Waste program at 1514 Eubanks Road (on the north side of Chapel Hill). Please call 919-968-2788, send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit http://www.co.orange.nc.us/recycling/hhw.asp for more information.
- Businesses must have a grease trap which keeps FOG from going into the sewer system and which is regularly cleaned out by a company that recycles FOGs.
For more information
Please contact OWASA Public Affairs at 919-537-4267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.