Fats, Oils, and Grease

Help Prevent Sewer Backups in Your Home

If not properly disposed of, fats, oils and grease (FOGs) can cause serious problems in your home's sewer system. FOGs can build up in the sewer system pipes and create blockages. These blockages restrict wastewater flow, causing sewer backups that can damage your home and create unnecessary costs for both residents and the City.

Where do these come from?

FOGs are typically a result of cooking and are found in foods such as meat, cooking oil, lard, butter and margarine, salad dressings, shortening and dairy products.

What happens when FOGs aren't disposed of properly?

FOGs are often washed down the kitchen sink because they are liquid form and can be poured. Although it appears they are gone once they go down the drain, these products stick to the sides of the pipes in your home. As these liquids cool and solidify, they build up and cause large, solid blockages in both residential and City-owned pipes. The blockages restrict the flow of wastewater from your house and cause sewer failures.

FOGs also have an impact on St. Albert's wastewater treatment. These liquids pollute our wastewater, making the treatment of water more costly.

How can I prevent these from entering the sewer system?

Each year, the City of St. Albert responds to sewer backups caused by FOG buildups in the pipes. Keeping these materials out of the sewer system is easy.

  • Do not pour grease or cooking oil down the sink or toilet. Instead, pour FOGs into a container (e.g. disposable take-out coffee cup, glass jar, etc.) Wait until the liquids cool and the container is full before disposing of it in your Brown Garbage Cart
  • Cooled and solidified materials can also be scraped and put inside the Green Organics Cart
  • Put food scraps into the Green Organics Cart
  • Wipe off any excess FOG residue with paper towel and place it in the Green Organics Cart
  • Use a strainer in your kitchen sink to catch food scraps before they go down the drain
  • Do not pour FOGs down garburators. These units chop food material into smaller pieces, but they do not prevent these substances from going down the drain
  • Hot water and detergents that claim to dissolve grease only move the grease further down the line where it can cause problems in another area of the sewer system

Last edited: August 25, 2021