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Published on Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season this week, and that means lots of cooking and eating. That also means a lot of fats, oils and grease that, if poured down the drain, can cause blockages in the public sewer system.  

Fats, oils and grease can be found in many of our favorite Thanksgiving foods, including turkey, dressing, sauces, baked goods and dairy products. After the Thanksgiving meal is cooked and eaten, these fats, oils, and grease are often poured down the sink or garbage disposals that are not designed to properly handle these materials.  

Once the grease is poured down the drain, it then sticks to the sides of sewer pipes, both on your property and in the public sewer system. Over time, the grease will build up and block the pipes.  

Grease accumulation in the public sewer system can causes blockages in the sewer pipes, which then keeps the pipes from functioning properly. Blocked sewer pipes can cause sewer backups into homes and/or streets, costly cleaning and maintenance, and water pollution.  

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) estimates that about 15 percent of blockages in its public sewer system are caused by fats, oils and grease.  

What can you do to help? The easiest way is to keep fats, oils and grease out of the public sewer system:

  • Never pour grease down sink drains or into toilets.
  • Scrape food scraps and grease from plates, pots and utensils into the trash.
  • Pour fats, oils and grease into an empty jar or coffee can. Allow the grease to cool and solidify. Throw the container in the trash.