Cease the Grease

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Fat, oil and grease are a real "pain in the drain" because they are the major cause of problems we find in sewer lines. Things like oil, butter, margarine, shortening, pan drippings and sauces can cause blockages in sewer lines. Clogged sewer lines can lead to sewer spills, which are bad for the environment, and can be expensive.

MCSD does everything it can to prevent sewer spills, but we can't do it alone. We need your help!

The best way you can prevent sewer spills is to never pour fat, oil or grease down the drain. Instead, let it cool down, collect it in a container -- like a used soup can or mayonnaise jar -- and throw it away in the trash.

Running hot water along with the fats, oil and grease doesn't help! Don't believe the myth that it's okay to pour grease down the drain as long as you run the water at the same time. No amount of hot water keeps grease from eventually congealing. This only gets the grease through the part of the pipes in your home. Once it goes into the sewer and cools, it sticks to the walls of the pipes and creates an expensive and messy problem of sewer backups - for you, for your neighbors and for the creeks and rivers in your neighborhood.

panIt's never okay to pour any type of fat, oil or grease down the drain.

Here are some more ways to "Cease the Grease"

  • Wipe or scrape your dishes before washing them.
  • Remove excess oil from pots and pans with a paper towel and throw away the towel in a trash can.
  • Use strainers in sink drains to collect food scraps and throw away the scraps in the trash.
  • Scrape food scraps from dishes into trash cans or garbage bags.
  • Avoid using your garbage disposal
  • Remove oil and grease from dishes, pans, fryers and griddles. Cool first before you skim, scrape or wipe off excess grease and put it into the trash.
  • Put used fat, oil and grease in a foiled lined bag, such as a foiled coffee bag or a used soup or vegetable can.
  • Recycle Cooking Oil. If you generate large amounts of used cooking oil, like when you fry turkeys, you can reuse or recycle it.  

MCSD's recycling efforts now include a residential cooking oil recycling program. Residents can take their used cooking oil (like you would use to deep fry food) to the site and instead of it being added to a landfill, or worse, in our sewer pipe. Click here for MCSD's authorized drop-off sites..

Thanks for your help, and please spread the word about how important it is to "cease the grease." Together, we can protect our sewer system and the environment.

Grease FAQ's

What is the difference between oil and grease?

  • The terms are often used interchangeably, but they are very different substances.
  • Grease is the solid white residue left over in the cooled pan after frying meat products.
  • Oil is the liquid left over from frying foods and never permanently solidifies.

What are the common mistakes people make when disposing of FOG?

  • When many people are finished cooking, they tend to dump left-over cooking grease, oils and food scraps down the sink and simply turn on the garbage disposal.
  • Another common mistake is rinsing dishes in the sink with hot water to remove the grease residue left on plates.

What can happen if I dispose of FOG down my kitchen sink?

  • Grease makes its way into city sanitary sewer pipes when oil, butter, shortening, food scraps, and even sauces are washed down the kitchen.
  • Improper disposal of FOG can result in blockages in city sanitary sewer lines and homeowner pipes. This may lead to property damage, foul odors, and road closures due to backed up pipes.

What can I do to help the problem?

  • Avoid pouring FOG and food scraps down the kitchen sink. Instead, pour the grease into a sealable container, freeze and dispose in the trash when the container is full. Large amounts of cooking oil and grease can be recycled. Click here for MCSD's authorized drop-off sites.
  • Before putting your dirty dishes in the sink, wipe off excess grease with a paper towel and throw the paper towel in the trash.
  • Proper disposal:
    - prevents grease buildups from blocking sewer lines
    - stops sanitary sewer overflows into streets and storm drains, lessening city construction and traffic that results from maintenance
    - protects the quality of water in the water table