Planet Alameda ::: Your Island City's Environmental Resource Guide for a Healthy Planet
Avoid Pain in the Drain!

Proper handling and disposal of kitchen fats, oils and grease can help prevent clogged drains and grease blockages in our sewer lines. Grease blockages may also cause sewage backups into streets and storm drains, which empty into local creeks and San Francisco Bay, causing environmental and health hazards. Controlling grease discharge helps to avoid sanitary sewer overflows, cleanup costs, and property damage.

Avoid pain in the drain and in your pocketbook. You’ll save water and you won’t find yourself trying to find a plumber! It’s simple: keep kitchen grease, cooking oil, and food scraps out of the drain. Remember that many dishes contain fats, oils and grease that cling to pipes and street sewer lines and can cause clogs. Those clogs can lead to sewage backing up indoors or in city streets. Scraping plates, pots and pans before washing or loading the dishwasher not only reduces water consumption, but also avoids “FOG” clogs, fats, oils and grease (FOG). Keep your kitchen FOG – including dairy products and olive oil – out of the drain.


FOG Clogs for Residents
Here’s what you can do. When cleaning up after meals, first scrape food scraps and grease off plates, pots and pans into the garbage or kitchen scrap recycling bin, and then wash them or load the dishwasher. Scraping before you wash helps avoid clogs from cooking fats. Landlords, help your tenants reduce blockages that can be costly to repair by providing this information to them too!

FOG Clogs for Businesses
Restaurants and other food service establishments contribute greatly to the buildup of FOG in the sewer lines because of the amount of grease produced during food preparation, cooking, and kitchen cleanup. If your business has collected grease, give us a call for your options. EBMUD recycles old grease into renewable energy, so you’ll help generate renewable energy by dropping off your used grease!

East Bay Municipal Utility District
The good news is that sewage backups caused by grease are easily preventable! EBMUD is working with the City of Alameda, food service establishments, the nonprofit organization Baykeeper, and residents to prevent pollution associated with FOG and to protect the environment. We urge food service establishments and residents to take the following steps:
  • Develop an effective FOG management program for recyclable grease (yellow), as well as grease removal device waste (brown).
  • Apply appropriate Best Management Practices targeted to reduce the amount of FOG entering your drain lines.

Controlling FOG
  • Pour FOG into a can with a lid or mix it with absorbent materials.
  • Wipe down greasy pots or dishes with a paper towel. Dispose FOG into your kitchen scrap recycling or the garbage.
  • Don’t use hot water and soap to wash FOG down the drain. Water cools on its journey through the pipes and the grease hardens into clogs further down the pipe.
  • Drop off large amounts of cooking oil—like that used in turkey fryers—for recycling (see below).

Large amounts of cooking oil from residents can be disposed of for FREE at three recycling locations in the East Bay. To date, the drop-off program has collected more than 1,500 gallons of used cooking oil from residents. The convenient recycling site is located at:

EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant
2020 Wake Avenue
Oakland, CA

Go to the guard station for directions to the self-service receptacle. Open seven days a week for all EBMUD residential customers.

You can order a free plate scraper and get more information about proper cooking grease disposal at Information on ways you can help protect San Francisco Bay is provided by the East Bay Municipal Utility District in partnership with Alameda and with the San Francisco Baykeeper. Together we can protect San Francisco Bay’s swimmers and boaters, the marine ecosystem, and wildlife. A clean bay begins with you – everyday choices you make can help you and protect the Bay.

For more information, please contact EBMUD, Environmental Services Division, at (510) 287-1651.

Article courtesy of EBMUD.

Last updated: June 16, 2011
Public Works Department,
(510) 747-7930

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