You may not know it, but every time you pour fat, oil, or grease (FOG) down your sink (e.g., bacon grease), or when you flush a "flushable" wipe, you are contributing to a costly problem in the sewer collection system.
FOG coats the inner walls of the plumbing in your house as well as the walls of underground piping throughout your community. Over time, these greasy materials build up and form blockages in pipes, which can lead to wastewater backing up into parks, yards, streets, and drains.
FOG discharged into septic systems and drain fields can also cause malfunctions, resulting in more frequent tank pump-outs and other expenses. Communities spend millions of dollars every year to unplug or replace grease-blocked pipes and repair pump stations.
"Flushable" wipes also contribute to this problem because they do not break down like traditional toilet paper. Despite what the packaging says, avoid flushing these at all costs.
Here are some tips that you and your family can follow to help maintain a well-run system now and in the future:
- NEVER pour fats, oil, or grease down the house or storm drains.
- DO NOT use the toilet as a wastebasket.
- ALWAYS scrape and collect fat, oil, and grease into a waste container such as an empty coffee can, and dispose of it with your garbage.
- REMEMBER to place food scraps in waste containers or garbage bags for disposal with solid wastes.
- PLACE a wastebasket in each bathroom for solid wastes like disposable diapers, creams and lotions, and personal hygiene products including non-biodegradable and "so-called" flushable wipes.
With new organic waste laws taking effect this year, it may be tempting to throw food scraps and leftovers down the drain, but don't be fooled. Food high in fats, like avocado, bacon, mayonnaise, cheese, or any type of oil should not go down the drain. Instead, bag them and place them in your green organic waste bin. For more information, check with your disposal company, Desert Valley Disposal in Desert Hot Springs, for proper handling of organic waste. Your pipes will thank you!