Have a Plumber-Free Holiday: Don't Put Oils, Grease or Fats Down the Drain

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Unless you have a plumber in the family, you don’t want to have to invite one over for the holidays. So, this Thanksgiving, remember: the most common cause of reported pipe blockages and sanitary sewer overflows is improper disposal of fats, oils and grease, according to the EPA.

Fats, oils and grease are problematic because they quickly build up on the sides of pipes, solidify, and block flow. Columbia Heights Public Works asks residents to please drain fats, oils and grease from pans and dishes into containers and then put them in a garbage can rather than down the drain.

And since we’re on the topic of sewer blockages, please avoid flushing disposable wipes down the toilet, even if the label claims “flushable.” Wipes fail to break down properly. Sewer workers everywhere dread this time of year when clogs from fats, oils, grease, and wipes worsens, leading to backups and costly repairs.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, here’s how you can help:

• Dispose of fat, oil and grease by pouring them onto newspaper or other paper items in the trash, or into a non-recyclable container and then into the trash.

• Another idea: Soak up grease with pieces of crusty bread pieces, and then put the bread on bird feeders for wild critters.

• Wipe greasy pans, pots and other dishes out with a paper towel before washing.

• Place disposable wipes in the trash, too. For a full list of what not to flush, go here.

Thank you, and have a happy, plumber-free holiday!