A pipe clogged with thick fats, oil and grease, also known as FOG.

This holiday season, family and friends will gather to feast on a deliciously prepared turkey dinner with all the trimmings to complete a meal, but what they may be washing down the kitchen sink could cause Fort Hood heartburn.

Too often fats, oils and grease are improperly disposed of by washing the messy, greasy residues down the kitchen sink. This is a common, but costly, mistake. It is not only an issue for the residences and barracks on post, but also dining facilities and child care centers that have kitchens.

Pouring grease down the drain with hot water or using the garbage disposal for getting rid of bulk food scraps is not the right solution either. That grease becomes a menace to Fort Hood’s sewer pipes and the entire sewage collection system.

The situation is similar to what happens to your body’s own arteries should you eat too much greasy food. Just like cholesterol that can block arteries, grease builds up inside sewer lines. That restricts the flow through those pipes and sometimes causes sewer spills or backups. These spills can occur anywhere including backyards, public spaces or even inside buildings.

What many people don’t realize is that garbage disposals are not a black hole for making food disappear. Garbage disposals only break the food into smaller pieces, releasing even more of the fats and greases that eventually clog up sewer pipes.

In addition to clogging pipes, grease can damage other parts of the sewer system.  

Lift stations move sewage towards a treatment facility, but grease and other debris can clog or damage pumps. The Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division and American Water personnel spend numerous man-hours and thousands of dollars every year to remove grease from our sewers and repair the damage that it causes.

Grease can cause health hazards, property damage, increase plumbing costs and threaten the environment. Prevention is the key to eliminating pollution. The best pollution prevention method is knowing what to do with fats, oils and grease without creating polluting discharges. Residents are encouraged to help the community and environment by following these tips:

• Pour grease into a container to let it cool, then reuse/recycle or properly dispose of the grease.

• Use scrapers/paper towels to remove the grease and food from cookware, plates and utensils prior to washing.

• Dispose of grease and food scraps in the trash.

• Do not use under-sink garbage disposals for getting rid of excess grease or food scraps.

• Commercial additives that claim to dissolve grease may pass the grease down the line but cause problems elsewhere, so avoid using!

• Recycle large quantities of used cooking oil liquids (not solid grease) at Fort Hood Recycle on 72nd and Old Railhead on Monday - Friday, 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.