You can make a difference when it comes to reducing fats, oils and grease (FOG).
While it may not seem like a big deal if you use the garbage disposal or pour grease down the drain, it all goes into the sewer collection system where every little bit adds up and can create major clogs.
When the clogs cause wastewater to back up, it can end up spilling into a stream or into your street, your yard, even your home. Consider this, if every person in Gwinnett County poured just one teaspoon of FOG down the drain, it would be the equivalent of dumping 18 55-gallon drums of FOG into a sewer! If you saw that happening, you would probably report it. Just in the past three years, 90% of FOG-related overflows happened on residential lines.
Reducing FOG is about more than just preserving the collection system and protecting the environment. It also comes down to cost. Think of the damage a backup could cause in your home or the expense of replacing a sewer line. In fact in 2008, FOG related overflows caused approximately $200,000 worth of damage to residential property. It’s important to keep in mind that if the clog is on private property, it is the property owner’s responsibility to take care of it.
Even overflows that happen in the County’s area of responsibility can cost you. Spills may damage the ecology of a stream. Plus depending on the size of the spill, there may be a fine associated with it.
Also, it’s ratepayers who fund the expense of maintaining and repairing the collection system and treatment facilities – in essence, if you are connected to sewer in Gwinnett, you have a vested interest in the whole system. Cleaning up spills and repairing pipelines affects the bottom line of DWR operations, which ultimately determines rates. For 2008, the County spent approximately $318,000 on cleaning up spills related to FOG.
The good news is that reducing FOG is simply a matter of changing your food preparation and clean up habits. Here are some easy ways to become part of the solution.
Wash food scraps (solid or liquid) down the drain, dump them in the toilet, or grind them up in the garbage disposal
Wash contents of soaking pots and pans down the drain
Use mesh drain strainers to catch solid food scraps for disposal in a trash can
Pour liquid food scraps, e.g. sauces, milkshakes, into a container and place in the trash can
Use water to “pre-wash” plates
Scrape plates over the trash can or dry wipe with a paper towel
Pour used oil down the drain
Pour used oil into a container with a top (the original if available) so it can be reused, recycled, or placed in the trash can for disposal
Pour hot grease (including poultry skimming) down the drain
Pour cooled grease into a grease can or other container for disposal and/or absorb with paper towels or newspaper
You can also contribute to the FOG solution in your community: