Category Archives: Water Blogs

Big A#$ Interceptors

See our Grease Interceptors…

Big A#$ Interceptors.

What is FOG?

FOG refers specifically to fats, oils and grease that enter the sewer system from homes, apartments, restaurants, industry and public facilities. As a byproduct of kitchen activities including cooking and cleaning, FOG is usually found in: dairy products, baking goods. butter, lard, shortening, and cooking oil.

Greasy Mess

Pipe filled with FOG

When not disposed of properly, FOG builds up in the public sewer system constricting flow, which can cause sewer back-ups into homes and businesses and overflow discharges onto streets. It can also interfere with sewage treatment processes at the public Wastewater Treatment Plants.

To remedate this problem, cities have developed an outreach program aimed at eliminating FOG from the sewer system. FOG buildup in sewer lines has many harmful and costly effects. Sewer backups into homes and businesses create a health hazard as well as an unpleasant mess that can cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to clean up. In certain cities, FOG can enter storm drains and flow directly into water bodies and onto beaches creating serious environmental and health conditions.

In addition to problems caused by cooking oils, petroleum-based oils can also cause sewer-related problems. Examples of this FOG source automotive repair facilities and car washes.

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by Chris Eberly, PE

Quench Your Inner Nerd

I was recently attending a certification class in Austin through the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association; ARCSA. I overheard the following anecdote.

A woman had re-purposed an unused backyard swimming pool as a cistern to hold harvested rain water. Although the pool was covered, she admitted that she was not maintaining her system as well as she should have been. After a few months, she noticed that the water was beginning to taste funny but you could still “drink it”. Later in the year, the water just tasted “terrible” and was undrinkable. She called in an ARCSA consultant for help.

The consultant went to the site at her home in Honolulu, Hawaii. The first step of his investigation was to inspect the cistern. Upon removal of the pool cover, they were shocked to find a recently drowned cat floating in the water.  This floating feline carcass was determined to be the source of the foul tasting water. Following his recommendations, the cistern was to be drained of the contaminated water.
As the draining cistern water receded near the pool bottom, another shocking discovery was made; a complete cat skeleton, of a second cat. The cistern was professionally cleaned, refilled, and secured. The consultant’s conclusion should prove valuable to designers of future harvest systems; “One cat” water “tastes funny”, but “two cat” water….. you just can’t drink!”