Be Aware of Putting Cooking Grease Down Your Sink This Holiday Season

There is a hidden problem concerning the holidays. We all cook more during this time of year, but the grease from all that cooking can clog pipes and even sewers.

The city of Richland said that  eighty percent of the grease blockages come from residential not commercial sewer lines. That could lead to sewage back up into your house.

The city uses a robotic camera to inspect sewer lines for any problem. This gives them a close up view of all that grease.

All sewer lines lead to lift tanks and the city has to clean the gresae out of those at least once a month. Sometimes as often as once a week.

 Not only are people cooking more this time of year but the cooler weather causes grease to solidify quicker.

John Bykonen, the wastewater manger for Richland explained that any amout of grease poured down the drain sticks to the pipes making the pipes smaller and smaller. "What happens then is debris starts to clog, and you'll actually see a back up in a residents house. We've seen flodded basements and rooms sometimes six inches deep. It's just heartbreaking to see six inches of sewage in somebody's house," said Bykonen.

The wastewater divsion is open 24 hours a day to answer sewage questions. They are also happy to come out and take a look at any slow moving pipes and best part, it's all free of charge.  

Holiday Grease Disposal Reminders :
1. Never pour grease down the drain. The grease cools and solidifies as it moves though the sewer line. Hot water does not solve the problem.
2. Pour warm grease into metal container and allow to solidify or freeze before placing it in the trash. A lid is required on containers holding liquid grease.
3. Pour cooled grease into plastic sealable freezer bag or container with a lid. Place in trash.
4. Scrap food and grease from dishes and pans priot to washing. Solid forms of grease can be placed in the trash.
5. Use a basket or strainer in the sink to carch greasy food scraps. Empty regularly into the trash.

If you suspect sewer problems that go beyond your kitchen or bathroom or are unsure call Wastewater at (509) 942-7480 or after hours at (509) 545-2763.