(Click on the question to view the answer)
1. What is FOG?
2. What is a collection system?
3. How exactly does FOG clog up a pipe?
4. Does soap take care of FOG?
5. If I don’t have an overflow, does FOG affect me?
6. Is FOG a problem?
7. What should I do with leftover oil or grease?
8. What foods are sources of FOG?
9. What can I do to reduce FOG?
10. Who can I contact for additional FOG information?
FOG refers to fats, oil, and grease, which are the natural by-products of food preparation and cooking or baking. When poured down the drain, they can form clogs and blockages that lead to sewer overflows. Did you know FOG can also clog the sewer pipes under the streets that take the wastewater from your house to the treatment plant? If that happens, the wastewater can back up and come to the surface and pollute the environment. This can allow untreated sewage to run into the streets and into our storm drains. This is not only a human health hazard but, since storm drains flow to creeks and rivers, this can cause significant environmental damage and impact aquatic life forms. You can avoid unnecessary expense and damage to the sewer system by following a few simple rules.
The collection system is a network of pipes and pump stations that moves wastewater from homes and businesses to one of the County’s water reclamation facilities (WRF).
Wastewater comes from everyday activities we all do, such as washing dishes, taking a shower, running the washing machine, and of course, flushing the toilet. Anything that goes down a drain enters the collection system.
As a warm liquid, FOG goes down the drain easily. But once it cools, it sticks to sewer pipes and builds up over time.
Anything put down the drain, or garbage disposal, or flushed in the toilet (besides toilet paper) combined with FOG, can block the flow of wastewater through the pipe forcing it back up the drain resulting in flooding of a home, a street, or a stream with wastewater.
Yes! If you are connected to the collection system, you have a vested interest in the reliability and life span of the system and treatment plants. Even if you never experience a FOG-related overflow, a portion of your monthly water bill payment funds the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the system.
In addition, the potential for ecological damage to the County’s waterways that contribute to the quality of life for all residents.
In the sewage collection and treatment business, the answer is YES!
FOG is singled out for special attention because of its poor solubility in water and its tendency to separate from the water and adhere to other surfaces. Fats, oils and grease in the sanitary sewer coats the insides of the pipe, causing maintenance problems. The consequences include reduced sewer capacity and pipe blockages leading to sanitary sewer overflows. Oil and grease also hamper effective treatment at the wastewater treatment plant. Grease in a warm liquid may not appear harmful. But, as the liquid cools, the grease or fat congeals and causes mats to form on the surface of settling tanks, digesters, and the interior of pipes and other surfaces which may cause a shutdown of wastewater treatment processes. Problems caused by wastes from restaurants and other grease-producing establishments have served as the basis for the Grease Management Program and other regulations on the discharge of grease materials to the sanitary sewer system. Typically a grease trap or grease interceptor is required to control FOG discharges.
Food scraps, meat trimmings, poultry skin, the “skim” from soups and gravies, cooking oils, lard and shortening, salad dressings, sauces and marinades, dairy products including ice cream, butter and margarine. See table on this link.
Following these basic practices in the kitchen:
|DO NOT wash food scraps (solid or liquid) down the drain or grind them in the garbage disposal.||DO scrape plates over the trash can. Use mesh drain strainers to catch remaining solid food scraps for disposal in a trash can.|
|DO NOT pour used oil down the drain.||DO pour used oil into a container with a top and placed in the trash can for disposal.|
|DO NOT pour hot grease down the drain.||DO place cooled grease into a garbage can for disposal.|
Who can I contact for additional FOG information?
Cobb County's Grease Management Program coordinates FOG education and enforcement activities. They are located in the Office of Environmental Compliance and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.