Water and sewer providers talk turkey: Stop putting grease down your sinks

Turkey grease can clog sewer mains, increasing the risk of sewer spills.

Water pours from a faucet.


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This Thanksgiving, water and sewer providers are urging customers not to pour turkey grease down the sink.

Grease from any kind of animal fat cools and sticks to the inside of pipes, leaving water department workers the onerous task of cleaning out thick sludge. Workers use a high pressure hose to flush out the mess. Until then, the material can block sewer mains, which could mean big trouble.

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“With the backup, you can have raw sewage just collect, and it comes out of a manhole lid and it goes onto the street, which could enter a waterway, which we really do not want to happen,” said David Forcinito, senior director of operations for New Jersey American Water’s south region.

“It’s extra time we’re spending cleaning the main when if we just do a little prevention on the one side, it would really help us on our side.”

Dishwashing detergents and garbage disposals don’t break down grease. Instead, people should pour the fat into a jar or can, and throw it into the trash after it solidifies.

American Water also advises residents to put leftover food on plates in the trash before washing dishes. Though most pieces of leftover food can go down the garbage disposal, anything high in fat, such as bacon, is best to be disposed of in the trash.

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