Fats, oils, and grease, also known as “FOGs”, are a major problem in municipal sewer systems, and the City of Fayetteville is calling on residents, restaurants, and everyone else to learn more about FOGs and how to not send them down the drain.
“FOGs are the number-one cause of sewer backups in Fayetteville,” said Public Services Director Chris Hindman. “We hope people will take steps to dispose of FOGs properly to help us decrease the environmental risks and to help decrease the financial burden sewer backups place on the City’s budget.”
This FOGs problem is not unique to Fayetteville. According to the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, FOGs are “the number-one cause of sewer system blockages in the Metro Atlanta area”.
So how do FOGs get into the sewer system? They enter when sewer customers pour fats, oils and grease down any drain that leads to the sewer system, including kitchen and bathroom sinks, shower drains, and even toilets. Over time, FOGs build up, and they can completely block a sewer pipe, which means sewage can get backed up and potentially spill into streams and creeks, and it can back up into homes and businesses as well.
“The City spends about $43,000 a year just to treat our sewer system lift stations for FOGs build-up,” Hindman said, explaining that the Water and Sewer Department tries to be proactive in detecting and remedying increasing levels of FOGs in the sewer system. “The costs rise when we have to send a team out to unclog a complete blockage and mitigate any spills that may have occurred.
“Residents also need to consider that any backups that occur on their property will be a personal financial burden to them,” Hindman said. “Disposing of FOGs properly benefits everyone.”
How can sewer system customers help eliminate the FOGs problem? Here are a few tips:
• Pour and scrape fats, oils, and grease off cooking equipment and into a sealable canister than can be thrown away in the trash can.
• Dry-wipe cooking equipment with paper towels before washing.
• Use a sink strainer to keep food particles out of the drain.
Residents who witness illicit discharge of FOGs or other matter directly into the Fayetteville sewer system are asked to call Code Enforcement at 770-719-4150.