How to: Avoid the Clog

Clogged Sink with bubbles

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) poured down the kitchen sink, even with a garbage disposal, can accumulate in sewer pipes throughout the year.  This leads to unsanitary backups and overflows in homes and neighborhoods, which are bad for the environment, highly inconvenient for residents, can damage personal belongings, and require costly repairs.  Some facts you may not know:

  • – Hot water and soap won’t dissolve oil and grease or help FOG move down the drain.
  • – Garbage disposals won’t make fatty and greasy food disappear.
  • – Grease is one of the leading causes of sewer clogs and overflows.
  • – The majority of sewer backups and overflows caused by FOG originate in residential areas.

Your family, community, and the environment need your help to eliminate the damage caused by improper FOG disposal.  Here are four easy ways you can help stop the clog:

1.  Never allow these items to go down the drain or garbage disposal:

  • – Meat
  • – Greasy/fatty food scraps
  • – Bacon fat/lard/shortening
  • – Salad dressings
  • – Frying oil
  • – Marinades
  • – Butter/margarine
  • – Dairy products
  • – Soups
  • – Sauces

2.  Once cooled, pour leftover oils and grease into a sturdy container, like an empty coffee can or milk carton.  Freeze or allow the contents to solidify, or add absorbent material such as kitty litter, then put the container in the trash.

3.  Put meat trimmings and greasy or fatty food scraps in the trash.  Even if your disposal has no problem grinding them up, those food scraps must travel through your small sewer pipe and may cause a clog.

4.  Scrape out fats, oils, and grease residuals from pots, pans, and dishes prior to washing them.  Then wipe them out with a paper towel to catch any leftover grease.  If you soak greasy items, before pouring that soaking water down the sink, place a paper towel over the drain to catch the grease and food particles.

Information provided by the Sacramento Area Sewer District and the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.