By: Korie Marshall
Fats, oils and grease – also known as FOG – affect our wastewater systems, and therefore our utility bills. The Village of Valemount is working on educating the public and business owners to help keep costs down.
In January most residents in the village should have received a cap in the mail which will fit on a few different sizes of tin cans. The hope is that residents will store grease, fats and oils from cooking in a can until it is full, and then they can simply discard the can in the garbage and reuse the lid on another can.
Fats, oils and grease can build up in your pipes and in Village sewer pipes, which can cause odours, clogged pipes, reduced plumbing flow, and even sewer back-ups. Over $33,000 was spent last year alone on cleaning FOG out of Valemount’s sewer system, says Anne Yanciw, Valemount’s Chief Administrative Officer. Those are costs that go directly to our utility bills. Not dumping FOGs down our drains and using grease traps can cut those costs.
Grease traps can run in the range of $300 to $1000, depending on the application and how much storage is needed, says Village staff. They also need regular maintenance, depending on the capacity and what type of fats, oils and grease is used in your kitchen. Having a maintained grease trap will soon be a requirement for restaurants to get their business licenses, says Yanciw. She says they are working on a communication and implementation plan and hope to roll out the program next year.
At home you can help cut costs and reduce sewer problems by disposing of fats like butter and shortening, oils like olive oil and salad dressings, and grease like bacon, chicken and beef, by wiping them from cooking equipment and scraping dished before washing. You can recycle used fryer grease for free – many third-parties will pick it up and recycle it into biodiesel.
Even with a grease trap installed, dumping FOG down the drain is not a good idea – it results in the trap filling quickly, which means the trap will need to be cleaned and maintained more often. And that usually means manual labour, to clean the trap by shoveling, vacuuming and scrubbing.
“Remember – FOG belongs in the garbage, not down the drain!” says Yanciw.