EDMOND — Extra oils, fats and grease that come along with the Thanksgiving cooking shouldn't be sent down the drain because that could cause utility service problems in city neighborhoods, city officials are warning.
No matter how much hot water is poured into the drain, the unwanted cooking waste could clog up the sewer system, causing sewage to back up or overflow into homes, said Keith Stewart, Edmond's field services superintendent.
City crews see more clogged lines around Thanksgiving and Christmas when families are preparing large meals, Stewart said.
“When it gets around the holidays, there are more fried foods and lots of oil and grease and more problems and sewer backups,” Stewart said.
Clogged lines often occur at night or on holidays, which causes crews to be called out after hours and paid overtime.
Crews must respond to collapsed lines and lines clogged with debris like roots and branches, and grease.
If there are too many reports of sewage overflows, Stewart said, state Department of Environmental Quality officials can fine the city or mandate that extra reports be filed with the state agency.
Edmond was put on notice in 2006 by the agency, but not fined. City officials were required to make special reports about the maintenance of city overflows until 2011.
There is no way to pinpoint where the problem originates in residential neighborhoods. Stewart said that is why city officials try to educate residents about the problem of pouring oils, fats and grease down the drain.
City officials have created an educational program to show homeowners how to dispose of cooking waste.
The program is called FOG, which stands for fats, oils and grease. City officials want people to put the cooking waste in a tin can, freeze it and then throw it in the trash.
Residents can obtain a special lid and information by calling 216-7770.
The source of clogged sewer lines can be detected in commercial areas.
Edmond businesses can face penalties for stopping up a sewer line. The owner can face a $250 fine, a higher water bill or be forced to pay for repairs caused from the sewer backup and overflow.