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Des Moines Metropolitan
Wastewater Reclamation Authority
3000 Vandalia Road
Des Moines, IA 50317

Fats, Oils, & Grease

Fats, oils, and grease are byproducts of food preparation and cooking, and the majority of FOG enters the sewer system during clean-up/washing of plates, cookware, etc.  It’s common to only think of “fryer oil” when you hear of oil & grease but fats, oils, and grease are present in a large variety of foods including meats, dairy, salad dressings, sauces, gravy, mayonnaise, desserts, miscellaneous food scraps/residue, cooking oils, etc.

PROBLEM:   FOG accumulates in sewer pipes and lift stations where it eventually causes sewer blockages and sanitary sewer overflows.

SOLUTION:  Dry wipe your plates & cookware with paper towels instead of rinsing food scraps into the garbage disposal, collect meat grease/drippings in a disposable container (can, yogurt cup, etc.) then discard in the trash after it cools. 

FOG buildup can also cause raw sewage to backup into homes and businesses resulting in significant cleanup costs.  Keep in mind that FOG will build up in your own private sewer lines as well so put it in the trash, not down the drain!

Below are pictures showing buildup of fats, oils, and grease in the collection system and the end result: a sanitary sewer overflow.  (From left to right:  a sewer pipe clogged with FOG; a public sewer left station with a thick layer of FOG interfering with the pump floats; a sanitary sewer overflow with chunks of FOG upwelling out of the manhole.)