At so much simply off Freeway 101 and Woodside Street, Daniel Ver Linden popped open a 100-pound lid hiding an underground vault, lined with brick, darkish, silent.
It’s not purported to be silent.
Daniel Ver Linden offers with the aftermath of what folks pour into drains or toss into bogs. It is not fairly.
He clicked on a flashlight. The sunshine revealed a grayish mass operating the size of the vault, then disappearing down a pipe past the sunshine’s attain.
“We don’t need to see that,” Ver Linden stated. “Ever.”
‘That’ is a layer of congealed fats, oil and grease over operating water. Assume a mountain creek operating below snow bridges – solely this creek is uncooked sewage and the snow bridges are the stays of deep fryers and greasy meals.
With Thanksgiving days away, Ver Linden, a veteran member of the County’s Public Works Division, offered an up-close tour of the menace to sewage programs from fats, oil and grease despatched down the drain.
“It’s a liquid whenever you pour it down the drain,” Ver Linden stated, “However when it is available in contact with chilly water, it hardens up and ultimately clogs the system and that causes SSOs – sanitary sewer overflows.”
And which means sewage backing up into streets, sinks and tubs.
To assist residents take pleasure in a clog-free vacation (and keep away from pricey visits from the plumber), listed here are just a few easy recommendations on learn how to keep away from icky messes and maintain the pipes clear.
First, what’s the issue?
Fat, oils and grease (often called FOG within the waste business) come from meats, cooking oil, lard, shortening, butter and margarine, dairy merchandise and extra. These components cool and cling to pipe partitions. Over time, the buildup causes backups.
(The U.S. Environmental Safety Company estimates that just below half of system overflows are attributable to grease from properties and companies.)
Hold your drain fat-free. Scrape it, can it, cool it and trash (or compost or recycle) it.
The view down right into a sewer pipe reveals a layer of congealed fats, oil and grease. Sewage flows beneath the mass — for now.
So, what’s the answer?
Listed here are some tricks to make clear up simple and keep away from clogged drains:
By no means pour scorching oil or grease into the sink.
Along with oil and grease, FOG contains something greasy and fatty like meat, lard, shortening, butter, margarine, dairy merchandise, icing, dressing or gravy.
Meals scraps containing FOG belong in your inexperienced compost (or organics) assortment bin or, within the absence of a compost bin, within the trash.
Scrape meals scraps from plates, pots, pans, and fryers right into a kitchen pail or different container earlier than washing dishes. Use paper towels to wipe off extra FOG and toss them within the pail/container too. Empty what you’ve collected within the kitchen into your inexperienced compost bin. Keep away from the rubbish disposal and use a strainer within the sink to maintain meals scraps out of the drain.
Recycle FOG in case you are deep frying and utilizing giant portions of oil, test together with your rubbish firm, earth911.com or recyclestuff.org to discover ways to recycle used cooking oil. Save an empty bottle to gather the grease.
“We all the time attempt to cowl this subject round now,” stated Teresa Montgomery, sustainability supervisor on the South San Francisco Scavenger Co., which just lately revealed and mailed to prospects a newsletter that included the headline, Deep Frying a Turkey?
To encourage correct disposal, the South San Francisco Scavenger Co. accepts used cooking oil for $2 a gallon at Blue Line Transfer Station. The same old $38 minimal cost for coming into Blue Line is waived.
Verify together with your native waste hauler or switch station for charges and particular insurance policies.
Further suggestions: As they are saying within the waste biz, flush solely the three Ps: Pee, Poop and bathroom Paper. Bear in mind: flushing wipes clogs pipes.
“You may’t imagine the stuff we discover in our sewers, There’s toothbrushes, combs, rubber gloves, mainly something that folks can flush down the bathroom,” together with cell telephones, batteries and extra, Ver Linden stated. “All of it finally ends up clogging the pipe together with all the grease and every thing.”
Throw away merchandise like expired dairy merchandise, sunscreen, lotion and cosmetics within the trash. These sanitary wipes which have grown in style don’t break down within the sewer system like bathroom paper does. As a substitute, they mix with different wipes, hair, dental floss, rags and the rest somebody could have flushed – together with fat, oils and grease — to create tremendous blockages.
And keep in mind: chilly water congeals FOG, making buildup in pipes and sewer laterals. And that interprets to greater upkeep and sewer charges.
The County operates 10 sewer districts within the unincorporated areas and a few areas of included cities. Name 650-363-4100 if you happen to stay within the 10 sewer districts and are experiencing or witness a sewer overflow.
Name your metropolis’s division of public works or your sewer upkeep district if you happen to stay exterior the unincorporated space.
Particular thanks to Silicon Valley Clean Water, the South San Francisco Scavenger Co. and different companies that contributed to this text.