• Town of Louisburg – Charming since 1779.

Help reduce “FOG” in the sewer system!

The Town of Louisburg and all entities in the United States are restricted from introducing certain contaminants into the nations water sources. Certain contaminants not only result in environmental disasters, but may also tremendously affect the operation of the Town’s sanitary sewer collection system. Such impacts lead to the expenditure of millions of dollars for the repair or reconstruction of such vital infrastructure.

The Town of Louisburg, within the regulations of the Sewer Use Policy, strictly regulate the introduction of grease, oils, fats, and other contaminants into the sanitary sewer collection system. Many of these contaminants are introduced into the system through residential households and commercial kitchens that do not follow simple practices to eliminate these substances from the system. Please be aware of the following actions that you as a citizen should adhere top regarding FOG’s. The action that you take today may save you thousands in increased taxes and fees in the future to replace or repair a damaged sewer collection and treatment system.

FAQ related to FOG:

What is FOG and what is the FOG control program?

FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Grease. Fats, oils and greases are natural by-products of the cooking and food preparation process.

The FOG control program is an effort to make all citizens of Louisburg, residential and commercial, aware of the significant problem created by the introduction of FOG into the sanitary sewer system of Louisburg.

Why shouldn’t FOG go down the drain?

FOG sticks to the sides of pipes and eventually clogs them. This backs up the pipes and causes sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), possibly in your home or yard!

How does FOG create a sewer blockage?

Fats, oils and grease in a warm liquid form may appear to be harmless since they flow easily down the drain. However, as the liquid cools, the FOG solidifies and separates from other liquids in the sewer pipes. The layer of FOG sticks to the sewer pipes and, over time, the flow of wastewater becomes restricted and can cause a backup or overflow.

What are the sources of FOG? Who produces FOG?

Common sources of FOG include meat fats, dairy products, food scraps, cooking oils, baked goods, sauces, dressings, sandwich spreads, gravies, marinades, dairy products, shortening, lard, butter and margarine.

FOG is produced by restaurants, cafeterias, delis, bakeries, residential homeowners, daycares, assisted living, social halls – basically, and anyone who deals with food, especially while cooking.

Why is the issue of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) important?

Overflowing sewers release bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that may be dangerous to human health. The sewage may be released into your business or home, or into our waterways, streets, and parks. SSOs are unpleasant and expensive to clean up, and if they occur on private property, it is you, the property owner, who are responsible for the clean-up.

If the City is responsible for a clean-up, manpower and money are wasted on something that could have been avoided. The costs associated with SSOs are not limited to the Public Utilities clean up costs of containment, removal, and disposal of contaminated materials, emergency line cleaning, disinfectants, sampling and testing, record keeping and documentation, public notification, EPA and NCDENR enforcement actions. The non-direct costs may include media related costs, property damages, public relations, insurance, exposure to untreated wastewater (pathogens and viruses) and decreased tourism. These costs will eventually trickle down into customers’ sewer bills.

Is there a law against overflowing sanitary sewers?

Yes. The federal Clean Water Act and the NCDENR water quality regulations prohibit wastewater discharges into the waters of the state without a permit.

Can the Town of Louisburg tell where grease is coming from?

Yes. By checking manholes and using CCTV, the City can tell which sanitary service area and usually which specific building or neighborhood grease is coming from. If grease blockages are occurring frequently in a certain area, the City will make an effort to inform the residents in the area so that they can be more aware of their grease disposal methods and help to fix the problem. Specific violators may be fined or in some instances disconnected from the sanitary sewer system for continued violation and discharge into the system.

What can I do to keep fats, oils and grease out of the sewer system?

By using Residential and Commercial Best Practices and sharing this knowledge with your friends and neighbors.

What should I do if I experience a sewer blockage or overflow?

First, call the Town of Louisburg Business Office to report the problem: 496-4145. Town staff will come and determine whether the blockage is on your property or City property. If the blockage is occurring on Town property and cannot be traced exclusively back to you, the Town will address the problem. If the blockage is on your property and is obviously due to your improper practices, you will have to hire a plumber to fix the problem.

What do I do with the oil used in deep fryers?

Wait until the oil in your fryer has completely cooled and use a funnel to pour the oil into a container. If you are not planning to reuse the oil, seal the container tightly and put it in the trash. Never pour oil down your home’s plumbing or into the storm drain.

Should I use my garbage disposal?

Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of your sewer system. In fact, garbage disposals help contribute to the problem of blocked sanitary sewer pipes. Food particles stick to the grease that clings to pipe walls and speeds the blockage of pipes. Garbage disposals use large amounts of water and electricity. Reduce or eliminate usage to lower utility bills.

Should I use large quantities of detergent to wash grease down the drain?

Products such as detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere. In short, you remove the grease from your immediate vicinity only to help create a larger problem downstream.

Why should homeowners take the responsibility for making the water cleaner? Isn’t the sanitary sewer system the responsibility of Louisburg?

The environment affects all of us. Being good environmental stewards and preventing sewer overflows allows every person to live in a safer and healthier area. If a sewer backup occurs on your property, it is your responsibility to clean up. The costs to clean up environmental impacts will be bourn by all taxpayers, thus an ounce of prevention may be worth millions in the future!

Why are oils that do not solidify a problem?

Oils entering the system cause problems in two ways:

  1. Many do solidify at lower temperatures and therefore clog the system. Even if they don’t solidify they often bind to other forms of fats and grease.
  2. Some oils move through the system so quickly that they cannot be fully broken down in the treatment process.

How should I dispose of fats, oils and grease?

Larger quantities of fats, oils and grease left in pans from cooking should be placed in a tin can and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Once the container is full it can be discarded in your household garbage. Smaller amounts of cooled grease, salad dressings and sauces should be scraped into the trash with a spatula. Any excess grease can be absorbed with a paper towel and tossed into the garbage.

Isn’t throwing containers full of grease into the landfill just creating a different problem?

Over time, fats, oils and grease are very effectively broken down under landfill conditions. Very low levels appear in water leached from landfills. Fats, oils and grease cause greater environmental problems when they enter the wastewater system.

Residential Best Practices to eliminate FOG’s

Proper Disposal of Foods Containing Fat, Oil, or Grease

Fat, oil, and grease poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet can harden and block drainage pipes. Excessive use of the garbage disposal may also contribute to blocked pipes. Preventing grease and food scraps from clogging your home’s plumbing is simple.

For:

  • Meat fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter and margarine

Pour grease into an empty container, such as an old soup can, and store it in the freezer. When solidified, throw it in the trash. A heat-resistant plastic bag can be used to line the can (oven bags used for baking work well). When the grease cools, tie up the bag and throw it away.

Before washing pans or containers used to prepare or store food, wipe them with a paper towel.

For:

  • Baking goods
  • Dairy products
  • Food scraps
  • Sauces

Scrape into trashcan. Wipe dish with paper towel before washing.

All commercial kitchens in Louisburg are required to have an adequate grease removal system. This may include a large volume grease trap, under sink grease interceptor, containment of grease for pickup, or a combination of all of these approaches.

Commercial/Business Best Practices to eliminate FOG’s

  • Train Your Staff – Train kitchen staff and other employees about how they can help ensure the FOG Best Management Practices (BMPs) are implemented. People are more willing to support an effort when they understand the basis for it.
  • Conspicuously Post “No Grease” Signs – Post these signs in restrooms, over sinks, near all floor drains and dishwashers, and anywhere else where water may enter a drain near a sewer. Signs serve as a constant reminder for staff working with FOG.
  • Use the Most Appropriate Water Temperature – Use a mechanical dishwasher with a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a water temperature of less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit in all sinks, especially the pre-rinse sink before a mechanical dishwasher. Temperatures in excess of 140 degrees Fahrenheit will dissolve grease, but then the grease can solidify in the sanitary system as the water cools.
  • Dry Wipe all Pots, Pans and Dishware – Wipe FOG and food from pots, pans and dishware before washing. This will keep the FOG out of the grease traps and interceptors. The most effective method is to use a spatula and then follow up with a paper towel. This will result in less frequent cleaning of the grease interceptors and traps and will result in lower maintenance costs.
  • Properly Dispose of Food Waste – Food should never be put down a drain or into a toilet.
  • Witness Grease Interceptor Cleaning – Grease haulers may take shortcuts. They may not completely clean the unit or may only partially remove accumulated materials. Witnessing the cleaning of the grease control devices will ensure that the food service establishment is getting full value for the cost of the cleaning.
  • Clean Interior and Floor Under-Sink Grease Traps – Under-sink traps have less volume than grease interceptors. Place recovered grease in a proper disposal container or call a grease hauler for pickup. It can go in a dumpster if it is a closed container. Do not pour grease down any drains or toilets.
  • Clean Exterior Grease Interceptors – Grease interceptors must be cleaned routinely to ensure that grease accumulation does not interfere with proper operation. Routine cleaning will prevent plugging of the sewer line between the food service establishment and the sanitary sewer system. A backup will require someone to unplug the line and could pose a serious health risk to workers and patrons.
  • Keep a Maintenance Log and All Service Records – The log serves as a record of the frequency of cleaning and the volume of grease recovered from the grease interceptor. Service logs verify the accuracy of the maintenance log to provide proof of maintenance. The log will help you optimize cleaning frequency in order to reduce costs as well as verifying maintenance for the state.
  • Clean Your Range Hood – Range hoods, and range hood vent filters, left dirty, pose a serious fire hazard. Keep your hood clean, and make sure that the water used to clean it drains into your grease control device.
  • Cover Yellow Grease Containers Stored Outdoors – Uncovered yellow grease bins can collect rainwater. Since FOG floats, the rainwater can overflow the container and flow onto the ground where it can reach the stormwater system. Grease is harmful to waterways and aquatic life.
  • Place Absorbent Materials Around Yellow Grease Bins – Placing absorbent materials around yellow grease bins keeps spilled grease from flowing into the stormwater system. It is a food service establishment owner’s responsibility to make sure that grease bins are maintained and kept in good condition.