By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 11/27/20.
It’s that week where the trash cans start overflowing and the patience for waiting on grease to cool might be running thin. But a split-second decision of pouring the fat, oil, and grease – known in the business as FOG – from pots and pans can cause hours and days of frustration and thousands of dollars of costs when the pipes get clogged. Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) reminds everyone not to pour FOG down the drain this holiday season.
There may be drippings off a holiday turkey, bacon grease, or thick sauces, but all of these should be sopped up and placed in the trash when they are cool. The heat keeps the FOG liquefied, but when it cools down, it hardens. These solidified pipe intruders can catch other particles that come down the drain and build a clog. The next stage is costly sewer problems that can start with backups in the house, and end with a larger problem in the neighborhood, or even with nearby businesses.
“Holiday meals come with loads of dishes where FOG is discarded down the kitchen sink and into the sewer system,” said John Mrozek, deputy director Wastewater. “If it happens to make it through your pipes, and you and your neighbors send the same amount, it will end up sending small clogs down the line that build a monster of a problem at our lift stations and our wastewater treatment facilities.”
The way to properly dispose of FOG is to pour greasy and oily waste into a container, let the FOG cool and dispose of it in the garbage. One easy way is to take a sheet of aluminum foil and place it into a small pot and mold it into a little bowl. Carefully pour the FOG in and wait for it to cool and harden. Then, fold over the ends of the aluminum sheet and toss in the trash.
Lastly, pots and pans should be scraped of FOG before being washed or tossed in the dishwasher. Greasy paper towels and wipes should also be disposed in the trash and not into the toilet.
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: If you don’t have a container, try this. Step 1: Take aluminum foil and form a little bowl at the top of the drain. Step 2: Drain your grease into the foil. Step 3: Let cool, wrap up the ends, and toss into the trash.