MON - FRI 8:30 AM TO 4:30 PM

Keeping Our Water System Flowing

FOG Affects Everyone
at, 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
  • Lard
  • 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?

Flushable wipes:  Not to flush.  Even though the packaging clearly states they are environmentally safe and dissolve in water, manufacturers don’t state how long they take to dissolve in water.   The fact is they don’t dissolve as quickly as most would think and cause a tremendous amount of issues in the sanitary sewer mains and associated pump stations.  Unlike normal toilet paper that decomposes quickly, these flushable wipes are more cloth like than tissue like and end up clogging the sewer mains and pumps.  In Orion Township, we have had several instances where our sewer lift station pumps were plugged with flushable wipes.  Not only does this cause strain on the sewer pumps, it also could lead to a sewer main backup.  They can even clog residential sewer lines, which can result in a homeowner having to hire a plumber to unplug the line.  Municipalities across the country have expressed their opposition to flushable wipes and asked their communities not to flush them down the toilet, and we are in agreement.  Please do not put flushable wipes down the toilet.

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.