Think Around the Sink!
Cooking grease is a major contributor of residential plumbing and City sewer blockages. These blockages can lead to raw sewage escaping the sanitary sewer collection system. Once the sewage is out of the pipes it poses serious health risks, potential property damage, and may negatively impact our local streams and waterways.
By following a few simple steps, you can help prevent costly sewage overflows in the future.
- All cooking greases should be collected into a coffee can, or other durable container, and disposed of in either the garbage or taken to the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Be sure that the cooking oils and grease have cooled before handling. Never dump fats, oils, and grease down the drain.
- All food scraps and leftovers should be scraped from dishes and pans before entering the dishwasher or sink. The food scraps and leftovers can be thrown away in the garbage or composted. Use of a kitchen sink screen or catch basin can be helpful in preventing food scraps and other debris from entering the drain.
- Pots, pans, and dishes covered with grease, oils, or other fatty substances (like gravy or salad dressings) should be wiped clean with a paper towel before washing or placing in the dishwasher. Toss the paper towel in the garbage can.
- Cooking grease coats pipes in a way similar to the way that fatty foods clog human arteries. Once the grease cools, it clings to the inside of the pipe, eventually causing a complete blockage. When a blockage occurs, all wastewater from sinks, showers, clothes washers, and toilets cannot pass through. This leads to raw sewage leaking out of sewer manholes or into residential basements. Yuck!
- Grease should NEVER be poured down the drain. Running hot water and pouring detergent down the drain only breaks up grease temporarily. Your wastewater has a long way to travel in a series of pipes before making it to the wastewater treatment facility. As the grease moves through the pipes, it cools, separates from the water, and begins to bind to the pipes.
- Flushing grease down the toilet also causes sewer blockages.
- It is not just bacon grease! Fatty and oily foods can lead to sewer blockages as well. Butter, gravies, vegetable oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise, alfredo sauces, ice cream, and even avacados can contribute to grease blockages in pipes.
Recycle waste cooking or frying oil at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHWF)
1015 E Chambers St.
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tues. - Fri.
8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sat.
Grease should be collected in durable, sealable, non-porous container, such as a coffee can with a lid or a plastic milk jug with a cap. The HHWF cannot accept grease containers larger than five gallons.
Report Sewage Overflows
If you see or smell something you think may be a sewer overflow, report it immediately by calling (605) 367-8198. Someone is available at the City 24 hours a day.