Put fats, greases, and oils in the trash to keep your plumbing flowing for holiday guests!
This holiday season, add a septic inspection to your holiday checklist! Give yourself the gift of King County’s free rebate for a septic check to enjoy worry-free gatherings flush with family and friends. Your septic system should be inspected every 1-3 years and pumped every 3-5 years (and it’s NEVER a good time to put cooking oils, fats, and grease down the drain).
We have two simple tips for happy and safe holidays:
- Keep the oils, fats, and grease out of your drains
- Get your septic system checked and ready for winter
Why cooking oil?
Cooking oil is one of many fat, oil, and grease (FOG) items to avoid putting down your sink, toilet, or outside yard – or storm drains. The oil-based products cool and solidify in pipes to form a hard, solid scum called fatbergs. Fatbergs have wrecked and wreaked havoc in city and county drainage systems, building amazing, giant blockages.
By pouring off that turkey fat, buttery excess or bacon grease down the drain, you create thick scum layer in your pipes and septic tank, and can clog the pipes between tanks and drainfields. Most common cooking oils includes:
- Any type of cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
- Salad dressings
- Bacon grease
- Meat fat
- Dairy products
These harden in water and your septic system and will eventually clog the system.
One of the most common mistakes people make is to run hot water and use dish soap to loosen the oil from your dish. This does not eliminate the oil from your water and remains in your system in a hard “fat” form.
Our tips on the best way is to remove oils on your pots, dishes, and utensils:
- Use paper towel to wipe off excess fat, grease, or oil on warm pots and pans.
- Use a spatula to scrape batter and food residue from your bowls and plates into reused plastic bags or into the garbage.
- If you are using aluminum foil containers for cooking, let it cool to harden the fats and before you put it in your garbage.
- Do not put greasy food or meat parts in garbage disposals – in fact, garbage disposals are not good for your septic system as smaller particles can clog baffle screens easily.
- Consider recycling large quantities of cooking oil from deep fryers at one of several Puget Sound area locations.
After the holidays, how about treating your septic systems using a free rebate of up to $450?
King County is offering a free rebate to eligible properties in Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, and SeaTac of up to $450 for regular inspection, pumping, or riser installation done between July 1, 2021 and March 15, 2023.
The only qualification is if you live within the program’s boundaries – we will not ask you questions about income or other demographic statuses. Visit www.kingcd.org/oss to see if you qualify. The process is simple, but the benefit is huge – get it done and be headache-free this rainy season.
A septic system is a miniature wastewater treatment system in your backyard, which are common in areas without centralized sewer systems. If you are not paying the wastewater treatment fee in your utility bill, you are likely on a septic system. Septic systems use a combination of nature and time-tested technology to treat wastewater produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.
Generally, a septic system is composed of a septic tank and drainfield. A septic tank is where wastewater from the house is collected and separated into sludge, scum, and wastewater. Heavier solids sink and become sludge while lighter solids float and become scum.
Your septic system should be pumped every 3 to 5 years with an average cost of $500 per pumping, so reducing sludge and scum from your kitchen sink can prevent you from more frequent pumping and clogged-up pipes in your septic system. If you have not checked your septic system in the last year, this winter is a great time for septic system inspection! You should have your septic system inspected every 1-3 years and pumped every 3-5 years. This prevents sewage leaking out and pooling in your backyard, and you can protect your family’s health and save money. An inspection can cost around $300 to $500 while a septic repair or replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
More fun with fatbergs
If you find you are falling for fatbergs, here is a fascinating forensics feature on fats and what they found in England: Scientists Solve a Puzzle: What’s Really in a Fatberg – The New York Times (nytimes.com)