When I was in college I spent a couple of summers working for the Public Service Commission in Yazoo City. I worked Monday through Thursday, but sometimes if another crew needed some extra help I could come in on Fridays and make a little extra money.
One memorable experience was when I joined the water crew one Friday on a mission to clean out some clogged sewer lines. It was then that I learned the shocking effect of pouring cooking grease and animal fats down drains or toilets. I had always been told not to do it, but until I saw the problem with my own eyes, I never understood how serious it was. By the end of the day, we had the back of a dump truck bed covered in grease that had been hauled from the sewer lines. What happens is that all of that fat hardens again once it cools down, leaving pipes looking like giant clogged arteries.
Some people mistakenly believe that pouring hot water down the sink after pouring out fats, oil or grease helps, but all it really does is push the problem further down the line. It is going to cool down eventually and solidify.
The problem we dealt with that day was believed to have been caused just by individuals in their homes. Imagine how bad it would be if a restaurant was doing it. That has apparently been the case for one local establishment. Richie Moore, director of the Public Service Commission, said that PSC has been dealing with issues caused by one local business that had been pouring grease down the drain until problems arose. Moore didn’t identify the place, but he did say that fortunately no other businesses were affected by the problem. Mayor Diane Delaware said that inspections have revealed that some other restaurants weren’t using the required filters to prevent grease from entering the sewer lines. Delaware said she hopes to establish an ordinance requiring the filters because some restaurant owners don’t want to invest in the necessary equipment.
In the meantime it’s worth reminding everyone that you can save yourself some unnecessary headaches and expense by simply allowing cooking fats to cool and then throwing it in the trash after it solidifies.