Keeping Our Water System Flowing
FOG Affects Everyone
Fat, Oil and Grease in the sanitary sewer lines is commonly referred to as FOG. The FOG enters the sanitary sewer lines through the drains in a residential home or business. Once it enters the sewer system it sticks to the pipes and lines, and can eventually block the sewer line completely, causing sewage backups and overflows.
Sewage backups as a result of FOG can have an impact on residents, everyone connected to the sewer system, and the environment. If a backup occurs within a resident’s sewer line on their property, then they are responsible for the cleanup. For example, if a homeowner consistently pours grease or oil from cooking down their sink drain, it will eventually cool and harden. When the sewage backs up in their home, they will need to hire a licensed plumber to clean their lines and make any necessary repairs. Cleaning FOG build-up from the main sewer line can increase maintenance costs for Orion Township. The environment can be impacted by sewage backups overflowing into streets, lakes and rivers.
Sources of FOG include:
- Cooking Oil
- Butter, margarine or shortening
- Meat fats
- Food scraps
- Dairy products
To keep your drains clear, follow these easy tips:
- Pour or scrape oily or greasy foods into a container and allow it to cool before disposing of it in your garbage. Mix any liquid oils with an absorbent material such as kitty litter or coffee grounds before throwing it in the trash.
- Do not pour fat, oil or grease down your sink. Hot water does not dilute the FOG when rinsing cookware, utensils or dishes.
- Keep your drain clean by pouring one (1) cup baking soda down the drain followed by one (1) cup vinegar. Wait 10-15 minutes and then rinse with hot water.
To Flush or Not to Flush?
Unused Medication: Not to flush. The majority of residents in Orion Township probably have old prescriptions in their homes and the most common way of disposing of them was to flush them down a drain or toilet. In recent years information has surfaced showing that the wastewater treatment plants cannot always remove the high concentrations of metals, chemicals and/or organic substances found in medications. Ultimately, trace amounts of these medications can end up in our water supply and although research has shown that the amounts detected are way too low to have any impact on human health, there are several alternatives to flushing them down the toilet.
- Ask your pharmacy if they have a drug take back program.
- The Oakland County Sheriff's Department has a program called "Operation Medicine Cabinet." The Orion substation is a drop-off location for this program. They collect unused, unneeded, or expired medications.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers guidelines on how to properly dispose of medication in other ways than flushing them down the toilet.