WHAT IS F.O.G. AND HOW DO I STOP IT? (RESIDENTIAL)
Fats, oils, and grease (F.O.G.) is a byproduct of cooking and meat cutting. F.O.G. can be found in meat fats, oils, shortening, butter, margarine, sauces, and dairy products.
When F.O.G. is poured down drains or in garbage disposals, it builds up in sewer systems and can back up in your sinks, toilets, and possibly into your own or somebody else's basement.
Sewer overflows are not just public health issues but can severely damage our environment, especially pollution of our streams and rivers.
By learning how to recycle or dispose of F.O.G. safely, we accept some of the responsibility for our environment's health and the quality of life we enjoy in the City of Fredericksburg. As the department that responds to sewage overflows, the City of Fredericksburg Public Works Department has taken on the challenge of educating residents. We provide education to residents on how they can and should dispose of F.O.G., which is found in foods and food ingredients we use in our homes every day.
When you fry bacon, broil hamburgers or bake meat, what remains in your cooking pan is F.O.G., a real enemy of our sewer system. Substances that, when poured down your drain or into a garbage disposal, will build up over time, constrict the flow of wastewater and eventually cause sewers to back up into homes and overflow sewage into streams and rivers. The City of Fredericksburg Public Works Department quickly responds to and resolves these backups and overflows. However, prevention is the best for this growing problem.
First and foremost, we must reduce the amount of F.O.G. that enters the city's sanitary sewage system. To do this, we are asking homeowners to follow the following simple steps when they are recycling or disposing of F.O.G.:
- Minimize the use of excess cooking oils and grease when cooking or frying.
- The best way to handle used cooking grease is to pour it from the pan while it is still somewhat warm into a container that you can freeze, preferably one you'd have to throw away because your local recycling program does not accept it. (Frozen juice cartons work well because they won't melt when they contact hot grease.) Use a rubber spatula to scrape as much of the grease out of the pan as possible, and then it should only take one disposable paper towel to wipe the pan clean.
- Store the container in the freezer, keep the grease solid, and pull it out when your regular trash service provides. When it gets full, dump the whole container in the trash Whenever possible, find creative ways to reuse or recycle properly stored F.O.G. One suggestion is to turn refrigerated F.O.G. (now lard) into wild bird suet by mixing it with birdseed. Check out the eHow website to learn how.
By shifting our habits one resident at a time, one day at a time, and one household at a time, we can substantially enhance our streams and rivers' health to create a sustainable city.