Urgent Message from Cheltenham Township

This is an urgent message from the Cheltenham Township to all residents and business owners … No Fats, Oils and Grease downs the drain.  Grease blockage was the main cause of a manhole  to overflow into the Tookany Creek this week .  The Township has been warning business owners and residents about this for several years and adopted an ordinance back in 2013, requiring FOG permits. Fats, Oil and Grease, all cause a significant threat to townships’s sanitary system.

Bacon grease, chicken fat and vegetable oil, to name a few examples of fats, oils and grease (FOG), tends to clump together with other FOG washed down drains or flushed in toilets, slowly congealing and reducing flow capacity in sewer pipes. Much like too much fat in your diet can cause clogged arteries and lead to a heart attack, the results when many households wash fats down their drains can also be disastrous: sewage can overflow into the Tookany Creek or back up in your home or your neighbors’ homes, causing extensive and unpleasant damage. The consequences aren’t limited to the homeowners who experience FOG-related backups; the environment and taxpayers, who ultimately pay for the cleanup and related fines, suffer as well.

Fats don’t dissolve in water. Washing fats down the drain with hot water may take it past your sewer connection, but as the water cools, the fats and grease harden in sewer pipes. Detergents dissolve FOG enough to clean your dishes or laundry, but not enough to keep it from congealing in the sewer.

In fact, FOG causes about 47% of sewer overflows in the U.S.

So what should you do with your FOG? Put it in your trash. If a fat will solidify, let it. Placing it in your refrigerator or freezer can speed up the process. Simply spoon it into a container (preferably not anything recyclable) and put it in the trash once it has solidified.

Other ways to keep FOG out of our drains:
• Scrape plates into the garbage can using a rubber or silicon spatula.
• Before washing pans or anything else containing FOG, pour it into a container to solidify. Then wipe the pan with a paper towel before you wash it to absorb as much of the FOG as possible and discard the paper towel in the trash.
• Don’t put liquid oil in the trash. Instead, place it in a sealed can and add kitty litter, coffee grounds or other absorbent material, such as the paper towels used to wipe pans before washing.

The Township’s final message on FOG is the same as its first: To avoid clogs, never put fats, oils or grease down your drain!  Contact Cheltenham Township for any questions, concerns or additional information.