In the News, Stay safe, Tips and Advice ˙ Mar 12, 2018

Don't 'drain' the sewer system this Thanksgiving

Don't 'drain' the sewer system this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner, and throughout the country, families will be gathering 'round dinner tables to a partake in a delightful feast, the customary tradition the holiday of gratitude is known for. And for a sizeable portion of revelers, turkey will be the centerpiece, with roughly 2.6 million turkeys on average bought for the October holiday per year, according to the Turkey Farmers of Canada. That accounts for approximately 40 percent of annual sales.

Compliments for the deliciousness will surely go to the chef who dresses the bird, but during the process, officials are advising cooks to prep and breakdown responsibly by disposing of the fowl's remnants in the proper manner.

According to FluksAqua, a wastewater utility forum, all too often, the fat, oil and grease - or FOG - that derives from turkey when it's through cooking winds up going down the sink. While this may not seem unusual or potentially harmful, the sludge goes into Canada's sewer system, where it turns into solids and can potentially result in clogging and sewer backups.

14-pounder yields 1 cup of liquid fat
Although turkey is leaner than red meat, poultry still has a considerable amount of fat. Indeed, a 14-pound bird is capable of producing one full cup - 250 milliliters - of liquid fat, based on the wastewater forum's calculations. Naturally, the larger the turkey, the more fat it produces, with an 18-pound bird resulting in 290 ml of liquid fat.

"One cup of fat probably doesn't seem like a lot of liquid to flush into the system," said Hubert Colas, FluksAqua president. "Consider that thousands of households could potentially be pouring that cup down the drain. This can accumulate and clog the water infrastructure and pipes in your home, costing water utility services thousands of taxpayers dollars."

In fact, an estimated $600,000 annually in the city of London is spent to prevent blockages, according to FluksAqua.

Use containers instead to dispose of FOG
As an alternative to pouring FOG down sink drains and garbage disposals, homeowners are asked to use environmentally friendly containers instead, which London officials are distributing. Since the "It's Your Turn" campaign launched in 2013, more than 100,000 of these containers have been handed out.

"There's no excuse to use your kitchen sink as a garbage can with or without a collection cup," said Barry Orr, head of outreach and control for the City of London. "Canadians can easily keep FOG out of the water system."

Additional information on the It's Your Turn initiative can be found at London's official website.