Information on Fat-Free Sewers

Fats, Oils, & Greases aren’t just bad for your arteries and your waistline; they’re bad for sewers, too.  Sewer overflows and backups can cause health hazards, damage home interiors, and threaten the environment.  Where does the grease come from? Most of us know grease as the byproduct of cooking. Grease is found in such things as:

  • Meat Fats
  • Food Scraps
  • Dairy Products
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sauces Shortening
  • Baking Goods
  • Margarine / Lard / Butter

Too often, grease is washed into the plumbing  system, usually through the kitchen sink. Grease sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, the grease can build up and block the entire pipe. Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system. These units only shred solid material into smaller pieces and do not prevent grease from going down the drain. The results can be:

  • Raw sewage overflowing in your home or your neighbor’s home
  • An expensive and unpleasant cleanup that often must be paid for by you, the homeowner
  • Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards, and streets
  • Potential contact with disease-causing organisms
  • An increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers.

What We Can Do To Help

The easiest way to solve the grease problem and help prevent overflows of raw sewage is to keep this material out of the sewer system in the first place. There are several ways to do this.

  • Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
  • Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, and grills and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash for disposal (or recycling where available).
  • Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty the drain baskets/strainers into the trash.

Speak with your friends and neighbors about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out.  If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call City of Brainerd Engineering at 218-828-2309.