Why Grease Definitely Doesn’t Belong in Your Drain
Is there a foul smell coming from your kitchen sink, and you just can’t figure out what it is? We hate to break it to you, but it’s likely due to food remnants getting lodged in the drain because of a clog. What caused the clog? Well, have you recently poured bacon grease, fried chicken grease, melted butter, or the like down your drain?
That’s probably the culprit.
We know it’s more convenient to just pour it down the drain, but this easy-way-out option isn’t doing any favors for your drains or the environment.
Let us explain a bit further.
What Happens When You Pour Grease Down the Drain?
Nothing good, we can tell you that. When you pour grease down the drain while it’s still hot, it could potentially make it out of your drain before it cools. However, grease can quickly solidify, making it thick and sticky—the perfect drain clogger.
In fact, many of the world’s sewers are clogged with what London sewer workers coined “fatbergs” and mountains of grease as large as a bus. In the US, we refer to this as FOG (fat, oil, and grease) that can cause a host of drain and sewer issues over time.
When you put grease down the drain, there are several adverse effects.
1. Environmental Issues
Many people don’t take into account the detrimental environmental effects of grease and oil down the drain. Aquatic plants and animals can suffer greatly and be deprived of oxygen. FOG can diminish the natural action of the treatment process, decreasing dissolved oxygen in the water and killing wildlife.
2. Raw Sewage Leaks & Spills
If you’ve ever smelled raw sewage, it’s a memory that’s likely burned in your brain (and nostrils). Now, think if you had gallons of this foul liquid spewing from manholes or into lakes and streams in the area? This isn’t hyperbole. This could and has happened before. In 2019, Austin, TX, experienced a sewer spill because of a build-up of items that weren’t supposed to go down the drain, including grease.
3. Wastewater Can’t Drain
When you pour grease, oil, or butter down your kitchen sink, it can thicken inside the pipes, leading to wastewater backup. Water can pool at the bottom of your tub, toilet, and appliances if you’re not careful. A grease clog can also lead to raw sewage spills that can back up into homes, businesses, streets, yards, and waterways. If you’ve never seen (or smelled) this process before, trust us, you don’t want to.
How Do You Combat the Problem?
Stop Pouring Grease Down the Drain
With 88% of grease-related sanitary sewer overflows coming from residential sources, it’s time to stop contributing to the issues our sewers worldwide are experiencing. The first step in nursing drains back to health is to simply stop pouring grease down the drain. Taking just a few minutes to discard grease in the trash can do wonders.
Bottle It Up or Can It
A better alternative to pouring grease or oil down the drain is either bottle it or pour it in an empty can to discard in the trash later. Preferably, you’ll want to use a container that has a lid to keep the grease contents inside. After all, if the grease or oil spills out in the trash, it could accidentally end up in the sewer, which would be counterproductive to the overall mission of ensuring clean and healthy plumbing and sewer systems.
Wipe Pans & Utensils Clean of Grease
Avoid washing away grease or oil left on your cooking tools down the drain with hot water. Even small amounts of oil and grease can build up over time and cause significant problems for your drainpipe and sewer lines. After you’ve canned or bottled used grease, make sure to wipe down the pan and utensils to remove as much grease and food residue as possible before putting it in the sink.
Have Your Drains Professionally Cleaned
We know you can’t be the grease police to ensure everyone in your home does their part and doesn’t pour grease down the drain. Invest in services to remove grease and oil trapped in your drains and sewer lines for good. Our team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® also provides hydro jetting, which uses high water pressure to blast away difficult obstructions like grease and oil that have built up gradually. Hydro jetting should be performed by a professional, as misuse could result in damaged pipes.
I’ve Already Poured Grease Down the Drain, Now What?
First things first, avoid doing this again. While the effects aren’t immediate, you can see some detrimental changes to your (and others’) drains and sewer lines over time. The best way to prevent future plumbing problems is for homeowners and restaurant owners to work in tandem to keep the sewer systems grease-free.
If you notice your drains aren’t functioning how they should and you’re concerned about grease and gunk build-up, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® has a host of drain cleaning services that can help cleanse, clear, and maintain free-flowing drains long-term. Our team has years of experience eliminating built-up grease from drains and ensuring plumbing systems function efficiently.
For more information about how we can help, call (612) 430-6547.