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Boreal Community Media

Avoid “fatbergs” in your pipes and drains this holiday season

Nov 21, 2022 08:54AM ● By Laura Durenberger
Photo: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

From the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - November 17, 2022

Do yourself and other taxpayers a favor by keeping grease from turkey and ham dinners out of sinks and other drains. And while you’re at it, stop flushing disposable wipes down the toilet, even if the label claims that they are “flushable.”

Sewer workers everywhere dread holidays when the problem of “fatbergs” — clogs of fats, oil, grease, and wipes — worsens, leading to backups and costly repairs.

Here’s how you can help

  • Dispose of fat, oil, and grease by pouring them onto newspaper or other paper items in the trash, or into a non-recyclable container and then into the trash.
  • Another idea: Soak up grease with pieces of crusty bread pieces, and then put the bread on bird feeders for wild critters.
  • Wipe greasy pans, pots, and other dishes out with a paper towel before washing.
  • Place disposable wipes in the trash, too.

As this video shows, disposable wipes may flush down the toilet, but they fail to break down. Cities across Minnesota report costly repairs and upgrades after wipes clog their pumps and pipes.

The MPCA has previously proposed legislation to require manufacturers to change their labeling on disposable wipes to indicate that they should NOT be flushed. The proposals didn’t go far, but the agency created a toolkit to help educate consumers.



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