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Nov-22-2007 06:23printcomments

Holiday Dinners Stick to Your Ribs and Your Pipes

During the holiday season, it is expected that larger quantities of cooking fats will make their way to the sanitary sewer system via kitchen sinks.

kitchen sink warning
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(CORVALLIS, Ore. ) - A deep-fried turkey or an oven-baked ham. Gravy drippings. Onions sauteed in butter and oil to make the perfect stuffing. All mouth-watering traditions, but most homeowners may be surprised to learn that pouring the remains of these culinary endeavors down the kitchen sink can cause costly, unpleasant sewer blockages.

The City of Corvallis Public Works Department wants to share some tips on how to keep your plumbing and local sewers free from blockages by properly disposing of fats, oils and grease this holiday season and in the coming New Year.

On the average, one in thirty homes have a blockage in the main or lateral lines of the sewer system every year. These blockages can and do lead to back-ups directly into the homes of residents. One of the main causes of sewer blockages is grease from residences and restaurants.

It's the build-up of fats, oil and grease in pipes that cause problems. All year long, people pour byproducts of cooking down their sink drains. During the holiday season, it is expected that larger quantities of these cooking fats will make their way to the sanitary sewer system via kitchen sinks.

The results can be very unpleasant: Raw sewage overflow can back up into your or your neighbor's home, posing a potential health risk associated with contact to sewage. Back-ups can also require expensive cleanup, often incurred by residents.

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This is a problem that homeowners never have to worry about if they take some simple steps to reduce the amount of grease that goes into their pipes. The holiday season is a good time to start making changes that will carry into the New Year.

Here are a few simple tips from the City of Corvallis Public Works Department:

  1. Do not put oil, grease or greasy foods down the drain.
  2. Mix cooking oil with an absorbent material such as cat litter or coffee grounds, place it in a lidded container and dispose of it in a trash receptacle.
  3. Freeze grease in a can or container with a lid until the can is full and then dispose of it in a trash receptacle.
  4. Scrape left-over food and grease into the trash.
  5. If you soak a greasy pan, place a paper towel over the drain basket to catch grease and food particles as you pour the water down the drain.
Source: City of Corvallis Public Works Department

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.