F.O.G. is a term used in the wastewater field to describe fats, oils, and grease. These products are introduced into the waste stream from cooking, showering, dishwashing, mechanical maintenance, and other sources of everyday life. The most common places that introduce FOG into the wastes stream are restaurants, car washes, garages, and households. Most of these businesses have grease and oil separators that are designed to remove the grease and oil from the waste stream before it hits the collection system, avoiding downstream problems with pipes, valves, and plant equipment and process.
When fats, oil, and grease enter the system they mix with the sanitary waste contained in the collection system, congeal, and harden. The FOG will stick to the sewer piping, building up over time and causing blockages to pipes which could cause a sanitary sewer overflow allowing sewage to contact rivers and streams or your yard! Once the FOG enters the wastewater treatment plant it can cause pipe and equipment blockages, can coat electronic sensors, build up on the surface of tanks, and has a detrimental effect on the biological process and their ability to digest waste. In short, high volumes of fats, oils, and grease dramatically affects the overall effectiveness of the treatment that the plant should be providing.
What can you do? FOG is best eliminated at the source. Taking steps to exclude it from the waste stream benefits everyone.
- If you own or operate a restaurant, check your grease separators regularly, perform maintenance on them, and have them serviced when needed.
- If you are cooking, have a grease can that can be used to collect the hot grease. Wipe out frying pans with a paper towel. After it cools or the can is full, it can be discarded into the trash.
- If you do vehicle or equipment maintenance, do not dump used oil into a drain ever! Collect it in a barrel and dispose of it properly. There are people who may take the waste oil for heating and companies that specialize in the removal of those wastes that can be contracted to do so.
It is important that people understand the impact that FOG has on the City’s public utility and that everyone has a part in ensuring that it remains successful. These are expensive problems for not only the City of Lebanon but also the residents and users of that utility. Anything we can do to avoid FOG-related problems benefits all of us. For more information on the City of Lebanon's Wastewater Treatment, please visit the Wastewater Treatment web page.