The existence of fats, oil and grease buildup in sewer lines can be disastrous for both individuals and the city when it comes to short- and long-term consequences. Consequences can range from a costly and pungent inconvenience to an expensive, hazardous obstacle.
A fats, oil and grease ordinance was presented to the Tyler, Texas, City Council Feb. 13 in the hopes of approving an amendment to the city code. This F.O.G. control ordinance would define requirements in order to regulate grease reduction devices so that the city was in line with surrounding municipalities.
“In April of 2017, the city of Tyler, Texas, like many other cities have, entered into a consent decree or legal mandate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Paul Neuhaus, the city’s environmental compliance engineer, stated. “This consent decree required improvements to our wastewater collection or sanitary sewer collection to prevent sanitary sewer overflows or SSOs. Part of these requirements was to implement a fats, oil and grease program, which includes an ordinance that is enforceable with the goal to prevent the buildup of F.O.G. within the collection lines. F.O.G. buildup can cause a blockage that can lead to SSO.”
Why is this necessary?
Residues from fats, oil and grease are typically found after cooking meats, leftover oil from frying or sauteing, cooking with or disposing of butter and other dairy products or any type of fatty food scraps. One of the best ways for individuals and food establishments to help prevent sewer backups is by properly disposing of F.O.G. through collecting cooking oils in a disposable container, such as a can, and throwing it into the trash after it cools instead of pouring it down the drain.
Before washing dishes, it is best to use a paper towel to remove as much oil and grease as possible before washing; additionally, prewash dishes with cold water before placing dishes in the dishwasher. Hot water should not be used to rinse off grease or oil.
Disposing of food scraps from dishes and pans into the trash and avoiding the garbage disposal helps to keep unnecessary buildup from the sewer lines. Kitchen sink drains should have either a strainer or a catch basket covering in order to catch any food scraps so that the strainer or basket can then be emptied into the trash. Likewise, floor drains should be covered with a fine screen and emptied as necessary to capture sediment and prevent it from entering the sewer lines.
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