Tips to Prevent Clogged Pipes and Sewer Blockage

''CAN" the Grease to Protect Your Home, Business and the Environment

Fats, oils and grease, known collectively as FOG, represent the most serious enemy of our sewer lines.

  • Butter
  • Cooking oil
  • Grease
  • Food scraps
  • Lard
  • Margarine
  • Meat scraps
  • Shortening

When FOG is dumped down the drain, it forms large, thick grease balls that clog the pipes. Clogged pipes can result in sewer backups and spills, creating environmental problems, traffic tie-ups, or even flooded homes and businesses. Commercial food handling facilities contribute greatly to FOG build-up in our sewer lines because of the amount of grease used in cooking and other food prep work. Preventing sewer backups from FOG blockages also saves money. When sewer pipes back up on private property, the homeowner or business owner is responsible for the cleanup.



  • Can the grease! Keep an empty metal can and pour oil and grease into the can. Allow grease to cool in the container before throwing it in the trash.
  • Wipe before washing. For greasy pans, pour off the grease into a container and use a paper towel to wipe out the remaining grease in the pan prior to washing.
  • Seal the oil. Mix liquid vegetable oil with an absorbent material such as kitty litter or coffee grounds in a sealable container before throwing it in the trash.
  • Keep drains clean by pouring 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar. Wait 10 - 15 minutes and then rinse with hot water.


  • Do not pour fat, oil or grease down drains or garbage disposals.
  • Do not use hot water to rinse grease off cookware, utensils, dishes or surfaces.

Tips for Businesses for Managing FOG

  • Strain or filter oil in deep fryers to extend the life of the cooking oil.
  • Control the temperature of deep fryers to prevent the oil from scorching and extend its life. The less oil in the grease interceptor means saving money in pumping and in new oil purchased.
  • Recycle cooking oils and leftover grease into a storage container such as a barrel or bucket. Remember that grease is valuable—grease and oil can be recycled into other useful products. See your yellow pages for “Grease Traps” or “Greases” to find grease collection companies or grease trap service providers.
  • Instruct staff to be conservative about the use of FOG in food preparation.
  • Don’t use your garbage disposal to grind it up and flush it down the drain.
  • Use dry cleanup methods to reduce water consumption and save money! Remove food waste from pans by scraping, wiping or sweeping before using wet methods with water. Use rubber scrapers to remove FOG from cookware.
  • Use absorbent paper to soak up FOG under fryer baskets.
  • Use paper towels to wipe down work areas. Cloth towels will accumulate grease that will eventually end up in your drains when washing.
  • Minimize the use of dish soap in dishwashing operations. Dish soap emulsifies FOG and enables it to pass through a grease interceptor. It will later coagulate in the sewer lines.
  • Maintain your grease trap. Restaurants should have a grease trap installed in the kitchen. In order to keep your grease trap working properly, you will need to have it cleaned periodically, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.