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Public Utilities

Preventing Sewer Spills

Wastewater spilling out from a manholeDid you know that cooking grease is one of the major causes of residential sewer main clogs resulting in sewer spills? Cooking grease coats pipelines much like fatty foods clog human arteries. The grease clings to the insides of the pipe, eventually causing blockage and potential sewer spills.

By following a few simple steps, you can help prevent costly sewer spills in the future.

  • Never pour fats, oils or grease down the sink drain or garbage disposal. Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the plumbing system.
  • Pour small amounts of cooking oil (this includes salad dressing, frying oil and bacon fat) into an old milk carton, frozen juice container, or other non-recyclable package, and dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Wipe dishes and pots that are coated with greasy leftovers with a disposable towel prior to washing or placing in the dishwasher.
  • Put strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps such as meat trimmings and other solids and then empty in the trash or composting bin, not the garbage disposal.
  • Keep roots out of sewer pipelines by planting trees and bushes away from your home's lateral connection to the sewer line.


The brochure linked below is a handy source of information on how to keep cooking grease out of the drain and prevent plumbing clogs and sewer spills.

Cooking Oil Recycling

City of San Diego residents can now recycle their cooking oil and grease at the Miramar Recycling Center, and it is primarily recycled into biofuel. A cooking oil recycling bin is available to City residents for disposal of up to 30 gallons of cooking oil and cooking grease. There is no charge for the service. The recycling service is not open to commercial food preparation businesses.

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