Grease down the drain = holiday pain

Grease down the drain = holiday pain

Running water over freshly eaten-on plates can send remnants of holiday food on a potentially hazardous adventure down the drain.

Fats, oils and greases, also known as FOG, are substances that can build up and cause costly plumbing issues.

Once in the pipe, the FOG builds up over time, creating a smaller interior. This can lead to a messy sewer backup into your home, street or business. What seems like just a little sauce or mayonnaise can merge with other objects (wrongfully) flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain, forming masses called "fatbergs." Just like an iceberg, a fatberg will remain mostly hidden until it's too late to realize the monster that lays beneath the surface and then suddenly it's on your floor or in your street.

"What I'm pouring isn't enough to cause any sort of issue."

Not true. 

About 46 million turkeys are eaten around Thanksgiving, according to this Insider article. That's roughly 1/5 of all the turkeys Americans eat in a given year. Plus, the average commercial turkey sold in grocery stores weighs more than 30 pounds.

FOG generated from those birds has the potential to create quite the disaster for your pipes and your wallet.

What's known as Black Friday to the majority of people is known as Brown Friday to your local plumber. That's because the day after Thanksgiving tends to be the busiest for house calls. 

"Communities spend billions of dollars every year unplugging or replacing grease-blocked pipes, repairing pump stations, and cleaning up costly and illegal wastewater spills," according to the TCEQ. "Excessive FOG in the sewer system can affect local wastewater rates."

Manholes can overflow into parks, yards, and storm drains, allowing the FOG to contaminate local waters, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Neither dishwashing detergents nor the garbage disposal can adequately stop FOG.

So to help keep pipes clear, dispose of greasy foods and liquids in the trash instead of down the drain or garbage disposal, including:

  • Sauces
  • Butters
  • Dressings
  • Dairy products
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Gravy
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour Cream

Remember that the drains in your kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtubs and showers all send water to the same place as your toilet water, so adding pipe-clogging items could create a disaster.

Stuff the turkey, not the sewer this holiday season.

Dos and Don'ts

•    Pour cooled fats, oils and greases into a metal can or glass jar and seal it with a lid. Throw container in trash.
•    Have a sink strainer to catch food scraps.
•    Enjoy a holiday feast without worrying about having a backup in your home.
•    Pour fats, oils, or grease down the drain.
•    Unnecessarily waste money by having to call a plumber because you poured FOG down the sink.
•    Wash your pots and pans in the sink without first wiping out the fats, oils and grease with a paper towel or something similar.