Thanksgiving fats, oils and grease cause pipe blockages

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 24, 2015) – Thanksgiving is a time for cooking and eating, and then eventually cleaning up.

The tiding up process could become more of a headache for the pipes in your home if you don’t properly dispose of the fats, oils and grease, otherwise known as FOG.

“Basically FOG can be in a lot of common holiday foods. Baked goods, fried foods, anything that produces a lot of grease,” said Sarah Holsapple, spokesperson for Citizens Energy Group. “Ultimately when it’s dumped down the drain it can create a blockage in the sewer system.”

Pouring FOG down the drain may seem like an easy solution, but when the liquid turns to solid, that’s when the problem sets in.

Both plumbers and utility companies say that right after the Thanksgiving holiday is when drains begin to see build up and blockages.

“People are just cooking and they’re not trying to do any harm, but I don’t think they’re paying attention and they’re just wanting to get rid of the grease as fast as they can,” said Holsapple. “They dump it down the drain and they think it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but really it’s creating a bigger problem than they realize.”

That’s also when homeowners make the calls to fix the problem.

“We have up to 80 incidents each year where we’re removing FOG from the sewer system,” said Holsapple, who adds that many people will also call a licensed plumber.

Unclogging the pipes can cost anywhere between a few hundred to $5,000, depending on the blockage.

The best way to avoid the issue is to collect the fats, oils and grease in a bag or container. Set the liquid aside to let it solidify, and then throw it away.

“No one really wants to let grease sit on their stove and solidify especially if they’re having guests in town,” said Holsapple. “But, think long term and how if  you’re putting that down the drain it has to go somewhere… it’s certainly better to take care of it the right way the first time.”

Disposing of the FOG can be as simple as throwing it in the trash. However, Holsapple recommends dropping it of at one of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works ToxDrop locations.

 

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