Keep Grease Out of Your Sink This Season

Tis the season for an increase in sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). During the holiday and winter season each year, Houston Public Works responds to twice as many SSOs events. Of these overflows, 70% are due to blockages in pipes from fats, oils, and grease (FOG) going down the drain. When sewer pipes get clogged, it is not just a costly problem for homeowners and the city, but it also means an increase of bacteria in Galveston Bay. These fat blockages cause untreated wastewater to backup into homes and onto the street. Sanitary sewer overflows are exasperated during rain events, and the untreated wastewater ends up getting washed into the Bay via storm drains.

This problem gets worse in the winter for a few different reasons. The first is that the holiday season increases the amount of grease being generated due to all the large meals cooked for holiday get-togethers. The second reason is cooler weather can cause grease to solidify in pipes more quickly. This means that it takes a much smaller amount of grease to cause a problem.

Help to cease the grease problem and reduce bacteria in Galveston Bay by following the tips below: 
1. Cool fats, oils, and grease and put them in a sealable safe container such as old pasta sauce jars, tin cans, etc. Cool in the fridge and then toss in the trash.
2. Avoid using the garbage disposal. Instead, scrape food scraps, fats, oils, and grease into trash cans. 
3. Recycle used cooking oil at your nearest oil recycling station. Find out more at 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss, contact Galveston Bay Foundation at [email protected].  

Grease Build-Up in a Sewer Pipe