You can make a difference when it comes to reducing fats, oils and grease (FOG).
Consider this, if every person in Lawrence poured just one teaspoon of FOG down the drain, it would be the equivalent of dumping over two 55-gallon drums of FOG into a sewer! If you saw that happening, you would probably report it. Most of the FOG-related overflows happened on residential lines.
Reducing FOG is about more than protecting the collection system and the environment. It's about cost too. A backup can cause significant damage to your home or the expense of replacing a sewer line. Clogs on private property are the property owner's responsibility.
Even overflows that happen in the City's area of responsibility cost you by potential damage to the ecology of a stream or possible fines associated with spills. Ratepayers fund the expense of maintaining and repairing the collection system and treatment facilities. Therefore, if you are connected to sewer in Lawrence, you have a vested interest in the whole system. Cleaning up spills and repairing pipelines affects the bottom line of the Department of Utilities operations, which ultimately determines rates.
The good news is that reducing FOG is simply a matter of changing your food preparation and clean up habits. Here are some easy ways to become part of the solution:
- Use mesh drain strainers to catch solid food scraps for disposal in a trash can.
- Pour liquid food scraps, e.g. sauces, milkshakes, into a sealed container and place in the trash can.
- Scrape plates over the trash can or dry wipe with a paper towel.
- Pour used oil into a container with a top (the original if available) so it can be reused, recycled, or placed in the trash can for disposal if less than a quart.
- Recycle used and unused oil through the City of Lawrence/Douglas County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Please call 785-832-3030 to schedule a drop off appointment time.
- Pour cooled grease into a grease can or other sealed container for trash disposal and/or absorb with paper towels, kitty litter, or newspaper.
- Wash food scraps (solid or liquid) down the drain, dump them in the toilet, or grind them up in the garbage disposal.
- Wash contents of soaking pots and pans down the drain.
- Use water to "pre-wash" plates.
- Pour used oil down the drain.
- Pour hot grease (including poultry skimming) down the drain.
- Pour grease down the storm drain.
You can also contribute to the FOG solution in your community by:
- Reporting any illegal dumping or spills immediately.
- Educating your neighbors and others in your community.
- Look into recycling your used cooking oil, which reduces the amount of wastes that have to be disposed of in landfills.