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City warns against dumping grease, oil down the drain

The Elkhart Utilities department is encouraging sewer customers to stop tossing oil and grease down the drain and are offering a few tips on the subject.
Posted on Dec. 5, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 5, 2012 at 5:35 a.m.

ELKHART — The folks at the Elkhart Utilities department are encouraging sewer customers to avoid tossing oil and grease down the drain and are offering a few tips on the subject.

The city has about 1,000 educational packets that highlight the best and worst practices involving kitchen oils and grease that will be distributed soon.

Grease and oil tends to congeal inside drain pipes and sewer lines and can cause restricted flow and eventually, clogging. When the line becomes clogged, customers can encounter backed-up drains.

Depending on where the clog is located, either the city or a plumber is needed to clear the sewer lines.

The packet also includes a handy food scraper that officials hope will lead more people to scrape their plates into the garbage rather than use garbage disposers. That’s because food scraps often contain grease and oils that contribute to the build-up, a fact many people might not realize, said Sarah Mitchell, regulatory affairs director for the utilities department.

The utility department also suggests people wipe off grease and oil from plates with a paper towel rather than rinsing it down the drain.

Mitchell recommends using a can or jar to store large amounts of grease or oil before disposing it with other household garbage.

Officials have identified several areas of the city that have more problems with clogged lines than others and will be distributing the packets in those areas, Mitchell said.

Some of the areas include apartment buildings because a larger concentration of people using the same sewer lines can make the issue worse, Mitchell said.

The promotional effort was paid for with money from the utility department’s educational fund, Mitchell said.




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