Grease is one of the biggest reasons for clogged drains, and one of the problems our drain cleaning experts are continually solving. Along with clearing hair clogs and pumping septic tanks, it’s something we’ve got a lot of experience with! And we’ve also learned along the way that many people don’t know how to care for their plumbing system and drains, which is why today we’re talking about how to properly dispose of grease and fats. Continue reading to learn more — including discovering how fatbergs are wreaking havoc to sewer systems around the world.

If you’ve already poured fat down the drain, don’t be alarmed! It’s definitely something you should not do, but you haven’t ruined your drain by doing it. You’ll just need drain cleaning services from a professional plumber. Call Webb’s Select-A-Service in Altonah today and we’ll unclog your drain and have everything running smoothly again!

Grease and Drains

People pour grease down the drain because it seems like an easy solution to a hot, oily mess. But even though that grease seems like it will just run through your pipes out into your septic system, you should remember that grease solidifies. Even fats and oils that are liquids at room temperature, such as olive or canola oil, get sticky, can solidify, and clog pipes. 

When you pour grease down the drain, the fatty acids bind to calcium found in your pipes. This calcium is created by the corrosion of concrete, and when the the fat binds to the calcium it creates a hard, soap compound. It’s a bit counterintuitive, but soap is actually made from fats, and you could actually clean things with the fatty globs that grease makes in your clogged drains. 

Fatberg

A fatberg is exactly what it sounds like: a giant, congealed mass of oil and grease that’s been poured down the drain and is stuck in sewage pipes. The fat sticks to the sewage pipe and then attracts other debris, like tampons or condoms. The biggest contributor to growing fatbergs is baby wipes, which say that they are flushable but actually don’t break down in the sewage system. Restaurants also help feed the fatbergs, especially fast-food restaurants.

Fatbergs became a problem in England where older sewer systems couldn’t handle the amount of non-biodegradable solid waste. In fact, in 2017, a fatberg that weighed 130 tons and stretched the length of a football field was found blocking a sewage pipe near Whitechapel in London. Imagine foul, candle-like congealed fatty sewage. 

Here in the U.S., fatbergs are clogging pipes in cities small and large across the city, including New York City, Baltimore, as well as in South Carolina and Michigan. As plumbers, we keep up with the state of sewage systems and the ways in which people are working to unclog drains of all sizes. The sewer cleaning needed to break up fatbergs happens at a scale that is hard for us here at Webb’s Select-A-Service to imagine! Currently, plumbers are going down into the sewer system and demolishing the fatberg with chisels, pressurized water, and other tools.  

Sewage made only of human waste and water is difficult enough to handle, which is why we’ve developed technologies like the septic tank systems we maintain and service here in Altonah. Sewage made of things that should not be going down our drains — like fats, oils, and hygienic products made from plastic — destroys these complex systems. 

Luckily, if we are smart about what we flush down our drains, we can avoid clogging drains at the scale of fatbergs. And while it’s impossible to prevent all grease and fat from going down the drain when you’re washing dishes, if you contact Webb’s Select-A-Service for regular drain cleaning, you can avoid having that grease pile up and turning into a fatberg.

What You Should Do To Avoid Clogged Drains

If you’ve made a bunch of grease by frying up bacon, let it solidify in the pan or pour it into a jar to solidify there. You can then wipe up the grease with a paper towel and throw it away, or use it to cook other things. Frying an egg using bacon grease is a delicious way to reuse bacon grease. 

Webb’s Select-A-Service Altonah

If you do get grease in your pipes, the best thing to do is to call a plumber, like Webb’s Select-A-Service, to unclog your drains. We use specialized drain cleaning technology to make sure that your drains are clear without damaging your plumbing. Contact us today to get started!