Press Release

NACWA Says Don’t Be A Turkey – Keep Our Water Pipes Fat Free!

Nov 22, 2017

November 21, 2017


NACWA Says Don’t Be A Turkey – Keep Our Water Pipes Fat Free!

Don’t cook in a FOG – Fats, Oils and Grease should never go down the drain.


WASHINGTON, DC – As millions of Americans sit down for a holiday dinner with family and friends, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) encourages all to take caution when disposing of fats, oils and grease (known as FOG). Butter, cooking oil, meat drippings and other substances are often dumped down drains and toilets, creating massive problems for our country’s water and wastewater systems.

“The impacts of putting FOG down the drain are devastating to the most vulnerable areas within our wastewater collection and treatment systems. Our sewer pipes and pumps cannot function as intended when these items are improperly disposed,” says NACWA CEO Adam Krantz. “Think of it like a heart – putting bad stuff in clogs up arteries, eventually leading to serious health issues which we could avoid by keeping the bad stuff out of the system in the first place.”

In addition to fats, oils and grease from cooking, these items are also considered part of the FOG family and should not be put down household drains or toilets:

  • Butter/margarine
  • Food scraps
  • Lard/shortening
  • Meat Fats
  • Dressings and Sauces

This holiday season, NACWA and its nearly 1100+ publicly-owned treatment works members encourage the public to refrain from improperly disposing of these items and to instead do the following:

  • Pour fats, oils and grease into a covered container such as a used jar or can.
  • Allow it to cool, either leaving it out or storing it in the freezer until it hardens.
  • Dispose of items in the trash.
  • Always use a paper towel to wipe greasy pots and pans before washing them.
  • Utilize sink strainers to catch food waste.
  • When possible, put food scraps in a compost bin.

FOGs and Fatbergs

Properly disposing of FOG is one of the best ways we can reduce the number of fatbergs! Fatberg is a term widely used to describe a massive, impenetrable collection of non-flushable and “flushable” wipes and other non-flushable items combined with insoluble fats, oils and grease that build up in our sewer pipes. These masses obstruct pipes and lead to sewer overflows and backups. It is estimated these fatbergs are costing U.S. utilities up to $1 billion annually.

Damage to water infrastructure is significant and costly. Many of our nation’s water and wastewater systems are already in desperate need of repair or replacement totaling well over $1 trillion in the next twenty years. It is critical we do everything in our power to not put additional strains on our water infrastructure systems and by disposing of these harmful items in the proper way – not down the drain - would go a long way to help.


For nearly 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for all member utilities, and ensures they have the tools necessary to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all.  Our vision is to represent every utility as a NACWA member, helping to build a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.

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