Sewer Backups caused by Food

Tis the season for Sewer Backups caused by Food. It’s important to be mindful of how the foods you dispose of could affect your plumbing and the sewer system near your home.  Fats, oils and grease (FOG) are found in many Holiday dinners. When washed down the drain, FOG can cause sewer backups. FOG enters the sewer system in a liquid state when it’s washed down a drain or a garbage disposal, or flushed down the toilet. Over time, FOG solidifies and attaches to the sewer system’s pipes and joints, which can block the pipe and cause a backup. Sewer pipes can become clogged by FOG and cause backups into basements, roadways, and water bodies. Sewer backups create health hazards, can result in expensive property damage, and threaten the environment.

Where does FOG come from:

  • Meat Fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking Oil
  • Butter or Margarine
  • Food Scraps
  • Baking products
  • Milk, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream
  • Cream based sauces
  • Salad dressings, cheeses, mayonnaise.

Reducing FOG is easy to do and well worth your time. How to dispose of FOG:

  • NEVER pour grease down sink drains or toilets. Pour fats, oils or grease into a small container. Once it solidifies, place the container in the garbage.
  • Wipe grease and food scraps off pots, pans and dishes before washing them.
  • Dispose of cooled cooking fats, oils and grease into a waxed food container such as a milk carton or container with a lid and dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Minimize the use of your garbage disposal. Foods containing FOG can get caught in the plumbing and cause sewer backups.
  • Use baskets or strainers in sinks to catch food scraps. Empty scraps into the trash can.
  • DO NOT use the toilet for disposal of food scraps, sanitary items, rags, cloths, or towels.

Did You Know? Liquid dish detergents that claim to dissolve grease may actually pass grease down the sewer line, which could cause a sewer backup. It is important to scrape grease off all dishes. Preventing Sewer Backups Protects Public Health, The Environment And Saves Everyone Money.

Grease related blockages can:

  • Cause the sewer to backup into your home through sinks, drains and toilets.
  • Cause backup of sewer into streets, parks, yards and waterways causing a public health risk and environmental concern.
  • Raw sewage contains disease causing organisms that can be harmful to children, adults, and pets.
  • Clean up and repairs for damage caused by sewer backups are expensive, unhealthy, and unpleasant.
  • FOG related grease blockages increase the Commission’s operation and maintenance costs resulting in higher sewer bills for all.

Avoid Sewer Backups in Your Home!


References to portions of the above article are:

  • Citizens Energy Group, Properly Dispose of Fats, Oils and Grease by Laura O’Brien
  • Springfield, MA Water and Sewer Commission, Cease the Grease by Lori Belanger