This Holiday, Please Don’t Feed the Storm Drain!

Filed under: City |

North Texans love to feast on deliciously prepared fried turkey dinners with all the trimmings, but what they may be washing down the kitchen sinks or even down the city storm drains may cause North Texans heartburn

Background:

Fact 1: All too often FOG (fats, oils, and grease from meat, cooking oil, lard, margerine, and butter) are improperly disposed of by washing these messy, greasy residues down the kitchen plumbing system or by dumping it down the storm drain system. Improperly disposing of leftover FOG may cause property damage, health hazards, and environmental problems.

Fact 2: Pipes may be blocked by oils poured directly into the sink, even if diluted with hot water. As sewer pipes back up, sewage and food particles that accumulate can attract insects and other vermin and may create a potential health hazard by exposing people to raw sewage.

Fact 3: Property damage can also result from sewage backups resulting in expensive clean up and plumbing repairs. Clogged sewers can also lead to overflows, which can runoff into the street and straight into the storm drain system, and eventually lead to pollution of our creeks, streams and area lakes.

Fact 4: Oils pollute streams and creeks by forming a film on the water surface, which prevents oxygenation for aquatic life. Polluted storm water runoff can lead to excessive and costly maintenance and cleanup and could result in severe fines from State and Federal regulatory agencies. A firm in Tacoma, Washington was fined $49,000 by authorities for dumping 4,000 gallons of kitchen grease and waste water down a storm drain.

Fact 5: Commercial food preparation establishments and residents should never dispose of fried turkey grease and other cooking oil by dumping it into the storm drain system. Disposing of restaurant grease into storm drains or down manhole covers is illegal under the Texas Litter Abatement Act.

Fact 6: Did you know that used vegetable oil can be recycled into a non-toxic, renewable, biodegradable fuel called biodiesel? Or that used fats and oils can also be recycled into animal feed and other products? Check with your city to see if FOG is recycled in your community.

How you can help:

  • Dispose of large quantities of cooking oil and grease by contacting your community environmental coordinator or your nearest household hazardous waste collection station to find out if used cooking oil and grease is accepted. See the list below for information about recycling used cooking oil in your community.
  • After it has cooled, filter and freeze used cooking oil and reuse it for another meal.
  • Small amounts of cooking oil, such as meat drippings, can be soaked up with a paper towel and thrown into the trash.
  • After it has cooled, pour the used cooking oil into a sturdy closed-lid container, like a coffee can, and dispose of it in the trash. Another option is to slowly mix in kitty litter until all the oil is absorbed and can be placed in a garbage bag.
  • Learn more about FOG by consulting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) FOG web page and the North Texas Grease Abatemen Council (NTGAC) Cease the Grease web site.
  • See the list below or contact your city for proper disposal information in your community.

For additional information you can contact the City of Duncanville Public Works Department at 972-780-4900.

information from the North Central Texas Council of Government