Health Hazards

From the standpoint of sewage collection, transmission and treatment of residential FOG is actually a major community health hazard. FOG is given special significance due to its inability to mix with water, and its tendency to separate from liquid in the sewer system.

Impact on Sewer System

When FOG is released into the sewer lines in any amounts it can seriously degrade the collection system’s ability to remove waste from our community. It can be deposited directly on pipe walls, thus decreasing pipe capacity and, therefore, requiring an increased frequency of cleaning, maintenance, and replacement. Additionally, FOG is extremely hard to process at Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s (HRSD) treatment facilities.

FOG, especially grease (fats that are solid and stable at room temperature) dissolved in a warm and/or soapy liquid may not appear harmful. When released into the sewer system that liquid cools down significantly, the grease/fats come out of solution, adhere on the pipe surface and you truly have a recipe for disaster.

Impact on Community Health

Sewer lines meet at and dump into lift stations, normally positioned right in your neighborhoods, where small amounts of FOG collect and can become a serious threat to your community’s health. This FOG solidifies and creates huge grease mats on the surface of our sewer lift stations that impedes their function of removing sewer effluent from your home or place of business and giving you a healthy living environment. These mats of FOG can actually shut the station down, resulting in very expensive emergency responses and maintenance to restore normal sewerage flow.

If the problem is serious enough, sanitary sewer lines can backup even to the point of threatening your home.

Impact on Neighborhood Sewer Lines

FOG gets into your sewer system from household drains, as well as from poorly maintained grease traps in restaurants and other businesses. Sanitary sewer lines (SSLs) blocked by FOG can cause major problems such as:
  • Raw, septic sewage backing up into your home or your neighbor’s home.
  • Expensive and unpleasant clean-up that you must pay for.
  • Raw sewage overflowing into neighborhood parks, yards, and streets.
  • Potential contact with disease-causing micro-organisms from the sewage overflow.
  • An increase in operation and maintenance costs for the JCSA, which could cause higher sewer bills for you.