GREASE BLOB FAQ
Why are cooking oils and grease a problem for wastewater pipes?
Fat, cooking oil and grease (FOG) are only partially soluble in water and are not compatible with wastewater piping. If poured down the drain, these substances thicken, coagulate, and stick to the drainage piping, forming gooey-gross deposits that grow each time additional greasy waste enters the pipes.
Whether these deposits form in the homeowner's wastewater pipes or the city sanitary sewer lines, the result is a clogged pipe and costly repairs. These blockages may also be accompanied by foul odors, significant property damage, and even environmental harm.
What is the difference between oil and grease?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but they are very different substances. Oil, such as vegetable or olive oil, is liquid and never turns into a solid. Grease is the solid residue leftover in the cooled pan after frying meat, such as bacon.
Why are oils that do not solidify a problem?
Many oils do solidify at lower temperatures and therefore clog the drainage system. Even if oils don't solidify, they often bind to other forms of fats and grease.
What are the common mistakes people make when disposing of cooking oils and grease?
When many people are finished cooking, they tend to dump leftover cooking oil, grease, and/or food scraps down the sink and turn on the garbage disposal. The truth is that garbage disposals only grind up the greasy, fatty foods into smaller particles, which can make it even easier for it to cling to pipes.
Another common mistake is rinsing dishes in the sink with hot water and soap to remove the grease residue left on plates. Hot water and soap may serve only to push the potential clog further down the pipe, often meaning that the eventual blockage may be even more costly to repair. It is best to use as little chemicals and soap as possible to maintain a sanitary kitchen.
Does it really make a difference if I pour just a little grease down the drain?
Yes, based on an estimated population of 978,908 (U.S. Census, 7/1/2019), if every person in Austin poured just one teaspoon of FOG down the drain, it would be the equivalent of dumping nearly 1,275 gallons of FOG into the sewer.
Where is the Austin’s Resource Recovery’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center located if I want to drop off a container of FOG to be recycled? And, is there a cost to do so?
Austin’s Resource Recovery’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center is located at 2514 Business Center Drive, Austin, TX 78744. Drop off of your household hazardous waste for safe disposal or reuse is free for Austin and Travis County residents (fees apply if you do not live in Austin or Travis County). Appointments to drop off can be made online.
What about restaurants or large quantities of cooking oil and grease?
For restaurants, or large quantities of grease, learn about Austin Water’s Grease Trap Program.