FOG (Fats, Oils & Greases)

Issues with FOG


Fats, oils, and grease (often referred to as FOG) are universal problem substances in wastewater. Most FOG is not soluble; meaning it does not mix well with water. Due to this, FOG floats on water and clings to surface areas void of water. This is why grease collects on the top of drain lines first. As additional FOG flows down a line the line will eventually clog. FOG that does not collect inside drain lines ends up in the sewer system. District sewer line maintenance crews get trouble calls throughout the year due to line blockages caused by excessive amounts of FOG in discharged wastewater. Some of these blockages occur in the customer's sewer line while others cause a more serious problem by obstructing the District's pump stations and sewer lines.

Sources


Excessive FOG in a wastewater discharge can come from just about any source ranging from a studio apartment to a large industrial facility. Some of the more common sources include restaurants, bars and grills, grocery stores, food processing facilities, automobile service shops, apartments and homes.

Wastewater Treatment Plants


Even if the FOG does manage to find its way into our wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), it remains a problem substance due to its molecular structure. FOG simply requires much more time, energy, and resources to manage than other, more common organic wastes received at WWTPs. Additionally, FOG is a primary source of sewer odors, whether inside a building or emanating from a sewer line in the street.

Proper Disposal Responsibilities


Lakehaven Utility District has determined that fair number of apartment complexes in the area have been having grease problems with their plumbing and or District owned mainlines that service these units. The grease originates from renters who dump cooking oils and grease down the drain instead of properly disposing the grease in solid waste containers. It is the policy of Lakehaven Utility District not to pay for any property damage that may occur should a line become plugged. Grease in the sanitary sewer is preventable, and renters should be made aware not to dump grease down drains.

Costly Fix

FOG is the number one cause of sewer back-ups in homes and food service establishments. Even a small amount in drains can cause a serious (and expensive) plumbing blockage, or even worse, an overflow in your home or our community. Managing discharged FOG is expensive. The more it costs the District to maintain the sewer system, the more it eventually costs you, the customer. Please help keep these costs to a minimum. If you have any specific questions or comments regarding the management and disposal of FOG, please contact the District's Pretreatment Coordinator, Brian Asbury, via Email or phone at 253-946-5407. Additional information can be found at the Water Environment Federation (WEF) website.