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Don't put 'FOG' down the drain

Fat. Oil. Grease. Scrape and dump in garbage, not drains.

By Brian Wallace, MS, MBA, EIT, Staff Engineer


Pouring fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down sinks can ruin your home or restaurant’s plumbing systems and have negative impacts on municipal sewer systems and private septic systems. FOG includes: canola oil; olive oil; vegetable oil; fats from pan-frying meats; sauces; butter and margarine, and food scraps.


Don’t dump that FOG down your sink. FOG combine into solids in your plumbing system and downstream in the public sewer or septic system. Primary problems include: (1) partial or total flow blockage, (2) contamination of downstream water resources, (3) repair costs, snapped sewer pipes, and (4) increases in sewer bill price due to an increase in operation and maintenance cost for the municipal sewer company.


In September of 2017, an 800-foot long mega-FOG-blob was discovered weighing 130 metric tons. The City of New York spent $18 million cleaning up FOG blobs in 2016. On Sept. 28, 2017, one million gallons of sewage was released into a stream in Maryland after a 130-ton FOG blob that was 300 yards long clogged the sewer system.


For more information watch the video: FOG buildup is a big deal and will have a negative impact on your sewer system.

FOG in drainFats, oils, and grease combine in drains and solidify FOG clogging drain


What can you do instead? 

For best results, pour excess grease into a container with a tight-fitting lid for storing. Use a scraper or spatula to remove all the grease from the pan. Freeze it, or allow it to harden on its own and throw the hardened oil away on trash day.


Don’t rinse greasy dishes. Before washing, use a paper towel to remove small amounts of grease or cooking oil, and then simply throw the paper towel in the trash.


If you have a restaurant or other business which generates FOG, check with your local building department on requirements for installation of grease interceptors/grease traps.


For more information on the recycling or proper disposal of fats, oils and grease, along with lots more great information on how to keep your community clean, go to


This article was authored by Brian Wallace of LACO Associates, on behalf of RRWA. RRWA ( is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, habitat restoration, and watershed enhancement.

Brian Wallace, MS, MBA, EITAbout Brian Wallace, MS, MBA, EIT

Mr. Brian Wallace is a Staff Engineer at LACO Associates specializing in Civil Engineering with a focus on water resources management. After graduating from California State Polytechnic University with an MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering and an MBA, Mr. Wallace was hired by LACO to work as a project manager for a basin-wide groundwater study for the Ukiah Valley. Over the past two years, Brian has managed grant-funded projects for the Mendocino County Water Agency, prepared Preliminary Engineering Report projects for water system improvements, completed several geotechnical exploration projects, provided the Civil Engineering team with drafting and design support, and worked with Permit Sonoma to obtain septic, demolition, and building permits. LACO recognized Mr. Wallace's ability to take on new challenges, tremendous work ethic, and strong relationships with LACO staff by awarding him Rookie of the Year in 2016 and Most Billable Hours in 2017.