Disposing of Oils and Grease in a Safe Manner This Holiday Season

BILLINGS - When you finish cooking with your greases and oils this holiday season, Billings Public Works says you should can, cool and trash them instead of pouring them down the sink.

"Grease is the biggest problem we have in our sewer system. It's not designed to take your food waste, it's not designed to take grease and neither is our plant,”  Louis Engles, the water quality superintendent for Billings Public Works, said.

He says the grease, oil and excess food can be very costly on your home's pipes. 

The average cost for a plumber to fix your drain is around $300, according to Homeadvisor.com, and it can also ruin your neighbors' drain.

"What happens is you get significant blockage in the main pipe and sewer. Those houses that need those sewer pipes, the sewage just backs up, so what you have is what's being flushed down your toilet showing up in your basement drains,” Engles said.

Engles says that it can go even further down the main line to the water reclamation facility where it could cause processing issues and the waste water won't be cleaned as effectively before it returns to the river.

"Some people use coffee cans or jars, anything that can hold hot grease for the time it needs to cool so you can put it in the trash,” Engles said.

Remembering to use the trash and not the drain this holiday season might be what keeps your neighborhood safe.

"For your neighbors and yourself the best thing to do is to not put that down the drain. It's a significant expense, health hazard and it's gross, quite honestly,” Engles said.

Engles also says that flushable wipes are usually not really flushable, so be sure to put those in the trash can too.

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