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June 13, 2024 8:38PM
June 13, 2024 20:38PM

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Beware of FOG: Fats, Oils & Grease

Did you know that nearly 50 percent of sewage overflows nationwide are caused by homeowners who improperly dispose of everyday fats, oils and grease?

These overflows are not just public health issues, but can result in serious damage to our environment, especially pollution of streams, bays and the ocean.

What is FOG?

FOG refers to fats, oils, and grease, which are commonly found in such things as meat fats, lard, cooking oil, shortening, butter and margarine, food scraps, baked goods, sauces and soups and dairy products.

When FOG is poured down the drain, it solidifies and sticks to the insides of sewer pipes (both on your property and in the collections system) causing obstructions and eventual blockages.  Once these blockages are formed they can cause sewer overflows in which raw sewage enters the streets, storm drains, streams, businesses, yards, and even homes.  Such spills pose a risk to public health, adversely affect aquatic life, and are costly to clean up.

What to do with FOG

To prevent problems, here are tips for getting rid of left over cooking grease:

  • Minimize the use of excess cooking oils and grease when cooking or frying.
  • Never pour grease down your sink drain, toilet or garbage disposal.
  • Place left over grease into containers with lids, such as jars, and place into a trash receptacle for pick up on trash day.
  • Mix oils with absorbent materials, such as coffee grounds, put it in a lidded container and dispose with the trash.
  • If cleaning a greasy pan, pour grease into a container and wipe excess grease from the pan with paper towels. Place the towels into the trash.
  • If using a deep fat fryer, mix oils with absorbent material, such as cat litter, or soak up excess oil with newspaper and put into the trash.

Get even more sewer smart at

FOG education for kids

Check out this video from Discovery Cube Orange County: 

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Watch: The FOG Song

IRWD FOG Program for businesses

Businesses and food establishments that discharge FOG into the IRWD sewer system must comply with the FOG Program. This is a comprehensive program mandated by the State of California. Businesses will be issued a permit that identifies the general program requirements and any special conditions that have been indentified for each facility.

Get details about the IRWD FOG Program