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Residential Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is FOG?
A. FOG stands for Fats, Oil and Grease. It is a byproduct of cooking and includes oils, animal fats and vegetable fats.

Q. What are the most common sources of FOG?
A.
The most common sources of FOG are meats, lard, shortening, sauces, gravy, oil and dairy products.

Q. What is the difference between Oil and Grease?
A. The terms oil and grease, though almost always used together, represent very different substances. Oil is the liquid form left over from frying which does not solidify. Grease is the white solid residue left in the pan after frying items such as bacon.

Q. How does FOG enter the sewer system?
A. FOG makes its way through our kitchen sinks into the sewer system. When greasy dishes are washed at the sink or grease is poured down the drain, the FOG ends up in the sewer system.

Q. What happens when FOG enters the sewer system?
A. FOG enters the system in a liquid form. Over time, it hardens to form solid mass that coats the insides of the pipes. The grease accumulates and blocks the pipe, causing sanitary sewer overflows.

FOG in the sewer system causes:

  • Raw sewage flowing into homes (unhygienic and expensive; repairs and cleanup often must be paid by homeowners)
  • Raw sewage overflowing into yards, parks and streets
  • Exposure to disease causing organisms
  • Increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments resulting in higher sewer bills for customers

Q. Can I use garbage disposal or detergents and hot water to wash FOG down the drain?
A.
No. A garbage disposal will only shred the food to smaller particles. The particles will accumulate down the sewer lines to cause back ups. Detergents and hot water may temporarily keep the FOG in liquid state and push it further down the pipe. Over time, FOG will cool and solidify in the sewer system blocking the pipes and causing backups.

Q. How can I prevent FOG from entering the sewer system?
A.
Never pour FOG down your kitchen sink or toilet. Make sure you dispose off FOG in a proper manner. Here are a few easy steps you can take to help:

  • Pour FOG in a can. Cover and store in freezer until it hardens and dispose off as solid waste.
  • When there is FOG residue in any pan, wipe with a paper towel before washing. Throw the paper in the trash.
  • Place a food strainer in your kitchen sink to catch food particles and dispose of in the trash.
  • Spread awareness amongst your friends and neighbors.

Revised January 10, 2014

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