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Why You Should Never Pour Fats, Oil, or Grease Down Your Drain

Drought tolerant gardens

At some point, we all have found ourselves in the kitchen, attempting to jump between our main dish and a couple of sides to go with it, and have hastily dumped fat or oil or grease down the kitchen sink. It happens. But it really shouldn’t. As hard as it is to juggle multiple tasks while you’re cooking, you need to keep those big three, also known as FOG, out of the sink. Once you know why you’ll understand why it’s worth the extra hassle to dispose of it in other ways.

Why You Should Keep Fats, Oils, and Grease Out of Your Drains

When fat, oil, and grease are constantly poured down into your drain, they can cause buildup in your pipes. Over time, this buildup can cause your pipes to back up, meaning your house might fill with nasty, smelly sewage. 

You might think rinsing it down the drain with water will help, but not really. Water can’t break down fat, oil, or grease. All three will just stick to your pipes and never really rinse off.

What Happens When FOG Goes Down Your Drain

When you pour fat, oil, or grease down the drain, it causes problems for you and your whole community. It can devastate the entire sewer system.

First off, it’s contaminating the water supply. Basically, it backs up in the sewers and eventually seeps into the groundwater. Then, bacteria will grow, which now makes it a threat to plants and animals. 

You might think, “well, this is why we have wastewater treatment plants.” But FOG is a serious problem for our plants due to its molecular structure. It takes much more time and resources to manage than other issues.

Damage from Fats, Oils, and Grease

Basically, the damage is costly. As far as your home goes, when it causes your pipes to back up, it will make your home smell and create a health hazard for anyone living in your home with you. Plus, it will attract bugs. 

Then, there’s the property damage itself. Expect to pay quite a bit for cleanup (did it back up on any carpet?) and plumbing repairs.

How To Get Rid of FOG Properly

Here’s what to remember when properly disposing of fat, oil, and grease: 

  • Never pour FOG down the drain.
  • Pour cooking oil or grease into a resealable container. This is a perfect way to reuse glass food jars, such as the ones pickles come in.
  • Use a food strainer to catch extra food bits that might go down the drain and dump them in your garbage or compost.

Planning Ahead

The next time you’re cooking a meal that involves fats, oil, or grease, take a few extra minutes to plan how you will properly dispose of it. For example, if you’re using a jar to collect oil and grease, maybe have it sitting off to the side on the counter so that you can pour the grease in quickly when it’s time. Next, allow it to cool, and then store it somewhere (maybe under your sink?).

Here at the Nevada Irrigation District, we’re planning ahead too. Our Plan for Water is a partnership with the public to assess our current water situation and understand its impact on the community. We’re providing a forum for everyone, even you, to offer input as we plan a strategy for the years ahead. We want to know what’s important to you and why. So we hope you’ll join us.


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