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grease clogs pipes             

  Advice for
     Residential Customers
     Multi-family / Apartments
     Food Service Establishments, and
     Commercial Establishments

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Save Money At the Sink

What you pour down your sink may be costing you money. Did you know that fatty, oily, and greasy foods clog your plumbing? Clogs cause Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO), spilling raw sewage into a street, a stream or even your own home. Clogs can cost hundreds of dollars to fix and thousands of dollars if the clog causes wastewater to spill out and damage bathrooms and floors.
Spills also affect your water bill. The City of Charlotte responds to more than 100 spills a year caused by leftover food clogging sewer pipes. The City inspects and clears sewer pipes to prevent spills and everyone can help by changing what we put down the drain.
·         Toss leftover foods, like table scraps, in the trash.
·         Collect leftover or expired oils (salad dressing, cooking oils, fryers) and grease in containers and take to recycling center or absorb liquids with coffee grounds, cat litter or paper towels and toss in trash or freeze grease before tossing in trash.
·         Take leftover cleaning supplies to a Mecklenburg County Recycling Center.
·         Get a free grease lid.
The same goes for our toilets. If you flush items down the toilet that don’t belong there, you are inviting clogs. Even products labeled as “flushable” do not decompose in the sewer system and can contribute to clogging.
·         Toss in trash: paper towels, wipes, hair, cotton swabs, feminine products, and dental floss
·         Toss in toilet: only toilet paper

don't dump in sink    
Toss leftover food in the trash, not down the drain.  

  Check out what should never go down the
  drain or be flushed down a toilet (pdf ):

remaining grease   Leftover foods like the remains in frying pan or fatty meats. Wipe off with paper towel and toss in trash. Or pour into a jar.

butter   Dairy products like extra butter and margarine, lard and shortening.  Toss in the trash.

oil   Olive oil, salad dressings, cooking oil, turkey fryers (deep
   fryers), and motor oil. Pour in a can and freeze before tossing in trash. Take motor oil to a Recycling Center.

cleaning supplies   Leftover cleaning supplies. Take to a Recycling Center.

paper towels   Paper products other than toilet paper. Toss in trash paper towels, wipes, hair, cotton swabs, feminine products, and dental floss.

medicine   Prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

What is Grease? 
Grease is the common term for animal fats and vegetable oils.  Read More...

What causes grease blockages in my plumbing?
Leftover foods like any fats, oils, and grease from cooking being poured down a drain or toilet.  These may be liquid when poured but can solidify to clog plumbing.

See below information for more tips:


Residential Customers should




Food Service and .

Commercial Establishments                                                                        (back to top)

Video about protecting your grease trap.

Utilities conducts on-site inspections (VIDEO) at least once a year to more than 4,000 restaurants and food service establishments to protect public health. These establishments are required to have a grease trap installed and and a contract with grease hauler company.

In 2000, Utilities began inspecting food services to protect public health and eliminate grease caused spills from food service establishments.  Utilities conducts on-site inspections at least once a year to more than 4,000 food service establishments.

All automotive repair operations, vehicle wash facilities and other washing activities are required to have an oil separator installed.

Food Service and Commercial Establishments and staff should:  

Grease Trap Installation:

Grease Haulers

Restaurants that would like to clean their own grease interceptors must have a septage management firm permit

Oil Water Separator Installation:

More information on protecting water quality:  

If you have questions or would like to receive our brochure on the Oil and Grease Prevention Program, contact the system protection division at 704-336-4946.

Back to help protect your environment home