Public Works

FOG and Wipes in the Pipes

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​Like human arteries, the pipes in your house and the city's sanitary sewer system won't work if they are clogged. Fortunately, most clogged pipes  are 100% preventable. The first step is to prevent fats, oil, grease (FOG) and "flushable wipes" from getting in the pipes to begin with. 

Here's how you can helpNo wipes and fog - keep pipes clear.jpg

Safe to flush:​

  • Human waste​
  • Wastewater
  • Toilet paper

Any other items can clog sanitary sewer pipes, causing the system to back up or overflow, as well as damage system machinery. Please dispose of such items in the trash.​​

Do not flush (the toilet is not a trash can):

  • If it isn't on the safe to flush list, don't. 
  • Even if a label reads “flushable,” you should still place these items in the trash.​

In the kitchen, focus​ on FOG: Fats, Oil, Greases

FOG is the most common cause of sanitary sewer backups. Fats, oils and grease hardens as they cool and clings to the walls of sanitary sewer pipes, creating a blockage (similar to a clogged artery). Garbage disposals do not prevent grease from building up in plumbing, nor does hot water dissolve​ it.

Sources of FOG:

  • Meat fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Food scraps
  • Baking goods
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products

Tips to prevent clogs from FOG

  • Place grease, food scraps and other items in the trash or curbside compost cart​. 

Do not flush medications!

Dispose of medications properly

  • Take them to a designated collection location. Check out Washtenaw County’s Pharmaceutical Take Back Program for a list of local pharmacies that will accept and properly dispose of medications.
  • Put  them in your household trash. It is recommended that you take precautions to conceal medications in your trash, either by mixing the contents with an undesirable substance or hiding it in another container. Find disposal tips at www.dontflushdrugs.org.