Utilities - Protecting Our Sewers

How to Prevent Fats, Oil & Grease from Damaging Our Wastewater System
Fats, oils and greases aren't just bad for your body, they're bad for sewers, too. Sewer backups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors and threaten the environment.  The most common cause of overflows and backups is blockage by grease.  Grease gets into the sewer from household drains, as well as from poorly maintained commercial grease traps.

Where does the grease come from?
Grease is found in such things as meat fats; food scraps; lard; baking goods; cooking oil; sauces; shortening; dairy products; butter & margarine Grease is washed into the plumbing system usually by the kitchen sink.  Some of the grease sticks to the inside of the pipes and over time the build up can block the entire pipe, both in your home and underground.

Home garbage disposals only shred solid material into smaller pieces, they do not prevent grease from going down the drain.  Commercial additives, including products that claim to dissolve grease, may pass grease down the line and cause problems in other areas.

As a result:
  • Raw sewage overflowing in your home
  • Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, rivers, wetlands and streets
  • Potential contact with disease-causing organisms
  • An increase in operation and maintenance costs for the City wastewater division, which causes higher sewer bills for customers
How can you help?
  • Never pour grease down sinks or toilets
  • Scrape grease and food scraps from plates, pots, grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for proper disposal
  • Do not put grease down garbage disposals
  • Call your City Utilities Department for more information - 742.6462
Commercial Grease Traps
Restaurants, large buildings such as apartment complexes or condominiums, and other businesses may have grease traps or interceptors that keep grease out of the sewer system.  To work properly, the grease traps must be properly sized, installed and maintained.

Solids should never be placed into grease traps or interceptors.  Regular maintenance is needed to insure that grease traps and interceptors properly reduce or prevent blockages.