Wastewater Source Control

Wastewater Division staff have developed a Source Control Program designed to protect the City’s wastewater assets. 

FOG pan

Two Elements of the Source Control Program

  1. The assessment of industrial wastewater dischargers - Industrial waste is a generic term for any waste material generated by a commercial, industrial, or other non-residential activity. The goal of this program is to identify and regulate discharge that is, by nature, hazardous and poses a risk to the integrity of the wastewater system.
  2. The reduction of the discharge of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) to the wastewater system- Up to 50% of all wastewater system overflows are caused by accumulations of FOG associated with food preparation. FOG sticks to the inside of wastewater pipes and builds-up over time to cause blockages. These blockages cause backups and overflows of raw sewage that can enter homes, businesses, and the environment.

FOG comes from many sources, here are some examples:

  • Meat
  • Lard/cooking oil
  • Shortening/butter & margarine
  • Any food scraps
  • Dairy products
  • Salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise

FOG solidifies and builds-up over time to cause blockages. These blockages cause backups and overflows of raw sewage that can enter homes, businesses, and the environment. This can lead to human contact with disease-causing organisms, environmental damage, increased maintenance costs and higher wastewater utility rates.

It is unlawful to discharge any of the following in the wastewater system: any water or waste which contains greater than 100 parts per million by weight of fat, oil or grease; any flammable or explosive liquid, solid, or gas; any solid or viscous substances capable of causing an obstruction to the flow of sewers; any waste containing toxic or corrosive substances.

  1. Residential
  2. Business

Residential homeowners may be held liable for all clean-up costs related to a sanitary sewer overflow. 

Such costs can include damage to:

  • adjoining personal property
  • parking lots
  • streets
  • wastewater pumps
  • piping
  • treatment plants

The best tool to deal with FOG is PREVENTION!

Here are some ways to prevent FOG:

  • Pour cooled leftover oil into a sealable container
    • Recycle it or dispose of it in the garbage. Don’t pour it down the drain!
    • Drop it off, at no cost, at one of General Biodiesel’s recycling sites. Visit the General Biodiesel Recycling page, for more information and site locations near you. 
  • Wipe your food scraps or grease with a paper towel before pre-rinsing. These can go into a compost bin, yard waste cart, or your trashcan. The yard waste cart items are composted by Cedar Grove Composting. Visit the Waste Management Compositing page or our Garbage/Recycling page for more information on composting.
  •  Limit the use of in-sink garbage disposals. Install and maintain screens in all sink drains to catch any grease and food scraps you’ve missed with your paper towel or scraper.
  • Be an advocate! Share this information with your family, friends, and neighbors.

Properly Dispose of Household Hazardous Materials

Many common products are hazardous if introduced into our wastewater system.

Here are ways to prevent that:

  1. Proper disposal of oil-based paint, pesticides, gasoline, and toxic cleaners.
  2. Return unused or no longer needed medicine to any Group Health Pharmacy location or select Bartell Drugs pharmacies.  Visit the Take Your Meds Back site for more information and locations. 
  3. Residents with curbside garbage service can recycle motor oil at the curb following these guidelines: 
    • Put motor oil in 1-gallon milk jugs with screw-on lids
    • Label with name and address
    • Put 2 feet from recycling cart
    • Limit 2 gallons per collection. Only uncontaminated used motor oil is accepted

For more information on disposing of hazardous waste, visit the Waste Management site or our Garbage/Recycling page.