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Posted on: December 11, 2020

Reminder: FOG and Wipes Clog Pipes in Amherst

Cross section of a sewer pipe showing blockage caused by flushable wipes

While holiday gatherings and cooking plans might be more modest this season, it’s important to remain vigilant in the kitchen to prevent messy, costly sewer backups. Sewer blockages caused by improper disposal of fats, oils and grease (FOG) tend to increase this time of year.  

The  Amherst Public Works team has noticed an uptick in FOG and other non-flushable materials, such as ‘flushable’ wipes, masks, sanitary products and more.  

That’s why we are reminding community members to follow these tips to keep FOG and other materials out of the pipes and sewer system. 

Dispose of fats, oils and grease (FOG) properly with three easy steps: 

  • Can it. Once cooled, pour leftover oils and grease into a sturdy container, like a jar or coffee can. 
  • Scrape it. Before washing pots and pans, scrape out fats, oils and grease. 
  • Trash it. Put fatty and greasy food scraps in the garbage, not down the drain. 

When FOG-containing items from cooking—like food scraps, gravies and oils—go down kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals, they can cause blockages in sewer pipes that lead to overflows. FOG cools and solidifies, sticking to the sewer pipes. Over time, FOG restricts sewage flow and can cause a sewer backup into customers’ homes and businesses. Sewer overflows are messy, costly and bad for the environment. 

Amherst Public Works also asks that we do not flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. This includes wipes marketed as ‘flushable’, masks, latex gloves, sanitary products and so on. Customers can do their part by throwing wipes and these other products where they belong, in the trash.

If you have questions, please contact Amherst Public Works at publicworks@amherstma.gov or by phone at (413) 259-3050 x0. 

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