Go ahead and bring home the bacon, but send out the grease.
This is the message being sounded by city utilities everywhere as they’re besieged by sewer pipes clogged with sticky, concealed fat and grease. It’s becoming such a commonplace problem that cities are running public awareness campaigns against what’s been dubbed FOG, for Fats, Oils and Greases.
Many homeowners have already gotten the message, when their own pipes clogged with grease blockages, requiring a call to the plumber.
But FOG ends up everywhere. It causes so much damage to city pipes that the city of Austin’s Water Department put out information about grease-related sewer backups so residents can see the labor and dollar costs of ignoring what the department calls the “Grease Blob” problem.
The Austin report logged 33 sanitary sewer overflows attributed to grease in 2013. Cleaning up those messes cost the city more than $40,000 that year.
At least the solution is at hand. People need to better manage the blob, by not putting grease, oils, fatty sauces or salad dressings down the drain.
Instead, people should collect cooking grease and oils in closable or foil lined containers and put it in the trash, or even better, recycle it. Fatty leftovers from plates and pans also can be wiped off and put in the trash.
Those who generate more oils and greases, such as restaurants or people fry cooking meats, really should collect the used oils and then take them out to be recycled, the city urges.
Austin has two collection centers for collected oils and greases.
City of Austin
Household Hazardous Waste Facility
Corner of E. 9th St. & IH-35
2514 Business Center Drive
Open 24 hours, 7 days per week