Cease the Grease! Oils and greases don't belong in the drain

  • Published
  • 78th Civil Engineer Group

Oils and grease should never be disposed of down the drain for any reason.  That includes fuels, motor oil, lubricating oil, hydraulic oil, cooking oil or animal derived fats -- such as bacon grease --  that may be used at home or on Base.  Those materials can cause backups in the pipe systems within your home, at the wastewater treatment plant or anywhere in between. 

Pipe backups lead to sewer capacity reduction, increased maintenance costs, shortened infrastructure lifespan, treatment plant upsets, facility closures, harm to fish and plans, odors and can create human health hazards. 

What happens if pipes back up?  Back ups in pipes may lead to floods within your home or the environment. Back ups in the environment allow the oil and grease to be washed into stormwater runoff systems, which eventually lead to our ponds, lakes, creeks and rivers!  Only a small amount of oil or grease is required to contaminate a large body of water. A release of oil and grease into a waterway may result in environmental fines against the Base.  In addition, back ups cost significant time and money to repair. 

Why can’t the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant or Sanitary Treatment Plant treat oils and greases?  At Robins, the IWTP pre-treats metals from wastewater before it enters the STP.  At the STP, an essential biological process requires microorganisms to break down organic material in the water. Oils and greases kill these microorganisms so the treatment plant cannot properly treat the wastewater. 

What should I do instead?  Used fuel, motor oil, lubricating oil, and hydraulic oil from domestic or official functions should be disposed of at an appropriate location such as an oil change business or at a certified hazardous waste facility such as Bldg. 359. Be sure to label your containers with information about the material that requires disposal!  Domestic cooking oils should be poured into a container and disposed of in the trash.  Spill kits should be used to help clean up spills that could occur at the work place.  Soiled rags and other contaminated materials should be containerized and disposed of at Bldg. 359.

-- Nicole Caruso