Sewer Overflow Protection (FOG)

Fats, Oils, and Grease Prevention
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) are the main cause of sewer clogs and overflows within our District. Throughout the year, cooking byproducts from thousands of homes and restaurants in our area get washed down kitchen drains. The fats, oils, and grease build up in sewer pipes over time and create blockages. Those blockages can cause backups and overflows inside homes or onto public streets and into stream or lake environments.

Garbage disposals, hot water, and liquid soap do not grind up and wash away the byproducts. The “hot soapy water” only serves to carry byproducts a few feet down your drain – usually somewhere between your foundation and property line. Once the water starts to cool, fats, oils, and grease also cool and collect on the top and sides of the pipe.

Here are steps you can take to help prevent a clog:

  • Keep dairy products, fats, grease, or greasy foods out of the sink and the garbage disposal. Garbage disposals only break up food into smaller pieces that easily stick to the grease that collects on the inside of your sewer pipe.
  • Pour cooking fats, oils, and grease in a container with a tight-sealing lid and dispose of it in a trash receptacle on your designated trash day. The District has FREE containers with disposable liners available at the District Administrative Offices!
  • For greasy pans that need to be soaked, first pour off the grease into a container as mentioned above, then dry-wipe the pan with a paper towel or napkin before placing in the sink to soak.

Illustration of Grease build up in pipes

The District has 4 main pump stations that transport the sewage out of the basin to the Tahoe Truckee Sanitation Agency. In recent years, these pump stations have been experiencing clogs in the pumps. The material clogging the pumps is cloth like, has a high tear strength, and is not disintegrating, dissolving, or decomposing in the collection system. DO NOT use “Your Toilet As A Trash Can! Flushable does not mean dissolvable! Clogging of these pumps can cause a sewer spill and because most of these pump stations are at or near Lake level, these could cause sewage overflows into Lake Tahoe.

Remember: Wipes clog pipes! Download our flyer for more info.

Preventing sewer overflows is not only a concern in the United States, but also overseas. Here is a fun video put together by some London sewer workers sending the same messages to their customers.