Deep-fried turkey, gravy, and vegetables sautéed in butter and oil for Grandma’s famous stuffing are all mouth-watering traditions. But many of us would be surprised to learn that pouring the remains of these holiday delights down the kitchen drain can cause costly, unpleasant sewer blockages that can overflow into storm drains and be fed directly into the Bay-Delta estuary, damaging local fish and wildlife habitat.
One of the main causes of residential sewer blockages is grease. These blockages can cause sewage to back up directly into homes and businesses and result in expensive repairs.
According to Amanda Roa, environmental compliance engineer at Delta Diablo Sanitation District, “The problem is the buildup of fats, oils and grease (called FOG in the pollution-prevention business) in your pipes. Raw sewage overflows can back up into your home – posing a potential health risk. Backups can require residents to pay for expensive cleanup and clearing of the house sewer, and lead to higher sewer repair bills due to the need to clear sewer lines in the street.”
Delta Diablo Sanitation District offers the following tips to keep your plumbing, local sewers and the Bay-Delta free from blockages this holiday season and throughout the year:
• Never pour fats, oil or grease down sink drains or into toilets.
• Do not dispose of fats, oils or grease in your regular garbage or trash receptacle.
• When cooled, put used cooking oil back into the original container for disposal.
• It doesn’t matter whether you run hot water or cold water – home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system.
• If you soak a greasy pan, place a paper towel over the drain basket to catch grease and food particles as you pour the water down the drain.
• Scrape grease and food scraps from plates, pots, pans, utensils and grills into a can or other heat-proof container.
• Bring your FOG container, along with large quantities of oil from turkey fryers, to your local Household Hazardous Waste collection center for free disposal and recycling. The Delta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility serving East Contra Costa County is located at 2550 Pittsburg-Antioch Highway (between Loveridge and Auto Center Road. The facility is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, except holidays.
For more information about your local wastewater treatment and Household Hazardous Waste facilities, visit Delta Diablo Sanitation District’s website, www.ddsd.org, or call 925-756-1990.