Fats, Oils, Grease (FOG) and other Nonflushables
Clean water depends on the participation and support of the entire community, from the government, businesses, and schools to individual citizens. Water is essential to everyone, and we all play a role in wastewater treatment. Public support and participation is critical to keeping wastewater treatment facilities operating and maintenance costs down.
When fats, oils, grease (FOG), wipes and other foreign items go down the pipes in your home, they cause expensive plumbing problems. The sanitary sewer system is designed to carry wastewater away from your home to the Wastewater Treatment Facilities where it is safely and effectively cleaned. As fats, oils and grease cool, they thicken and remain sticky, collecting all other items, such as wipes, that pass through your pipes creating one massive blockage and preventing the water from reaching the treatment facilities.
The clean-up of sewer backups and the additional maintenance required to reverse the damage caused by the improper disposal of these items leads to higher utility bills, costly home plumber visits and expensive pipe replacement. Sewer overflows and backups can also cause health hazards. Sewage is full of bacteria and contaminants that pose a serious threat to people and their pets.
IMPACT REPORT: Residential Sewer Customers
|Stafford County Sewer Customers:||34,918|
|Annual Sewer Maintenance and Pumpout Cost:||$1,634,900|
• Pour used cooking grease into an empty soup can, old coffee mug or other heat-safe container and then once solidified, toss it into the garbage.
• Dispose of all wipes in the trash.
• Scrape any food scraps or oils into the trash can prior to washing or placing plates, pots or pans in the dishwasher.
• Remember that garbage disposals are not trash cans.
• Use a strainer in the sink to collect excess food particles.
• Share this information with family and friends.
Q. What is FOG?
A. FOG stands for Fats, Oil and Grease. It is a byproduct of cooking and includes oils, animal fats and vegetable fats.
Q. What are the most common sources of FOG?
A. The most common sources of FOG are meats, lard, shortening, sauces, gravy, oil and dairy products.
Q. Can I use garbage disposal or detergents and hot water to wash FOG down the drain?
A. No. A garbage disposal will only shred the food to smaller particles. The particles will accumulate down the sewer lines to cause back ups. Detergents and hot water may temporarily keep the FOG in liquid state and push it further down the pipe. Over time, FOG will cool and solidify in the sewer system blocking the pipes and causing backups.Q. But if I don't have an overflow, does FOG really affect me? A: Yes! If you are connected to Stafford's sewer system, then you have a vested interest in the reliability and life span of the system and treatment plant. Even if you never experience a FOG-related overflow, the rates you pay on your monthly Utility bill fund the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the system. If there is a spill that gets into a waterway, the County could be fined and have to pay other clean up costs as well. There is also the potential for ecological damage to the County’s waterways that contribute to the quality of life for all residents.
Q. What should I do with my leftover oil or grease?
A. Pour FOG in a can. Cover and store in freezer until it hardens and dispose of as solid waste.
When there is FOG residue in any pan, wipe with a paper towel before washing. Throw the paper in the trash.
Place a food strainer in your kitchen sink to catch food particles and dispose of in the trash.
Spread awareness amongst your friends and neighbors.
Q: I am not on Stafford County water or sewer. Do I need to be concerned about FOG?
A: Yes. FOG is a concern to you, because it may cause clogging of the pipes that go to your septic tank or other on-site treatment system. Avoiding disposal of FOG down your drain is a good practice regardless of the system you are on.