Holiday clean up can be especially stressful for household drains and local wastewater systems because of the strain of what is being put down the drain while cooking holiday meals in multiple households. Grease from cooked turkey, for example, that is poured down the kitchen sink hardens to a semi-solid consistency like candle wax or lard. Other food waste down the drain only complicates and adds to the blockage. When the semi-solid grease starts to block other items that are going down the pipe, a glob, a smelly glob, of grease and other food waste forms and blocks drainage pipes.
Liquid grease turns to semi-solid sticky grease when it hits the cool pipe walls. It will likely not cause an immediate back up, but over time, the layer of grease will catch other food particles and more grease if you keep pouring it down the drain. Clogs of grease and old food are smelly and difficult to remove on your own.
It’s All Connected
The drainage pipes in your home may connect to the main public sewer line (or to a personal sewer tank). The pipe is wider so it may take longer to clog but continuing to pour grease down the drain along with all the neighbors on your street who may also pour grease down the drain will eventually lead to a clog in the system, often referred to as a fatberg. A fatberg is an accumulation of human waste, grease, and household items like wipes. Any size fatberg is problematic and to see the effects of a fatberg, visit the London Museum where a monster fatberg is on display and being studied.
Tips to Avoid Drain Problems
Do not pour grease or oil down the drain. Instead, pour the grease into a disposable and sealable container (e.g. empty milk container), let it congeal to a semi-solid and discard into the trash.
Garbage disposals are convenient but not everything should go down the garbage disposal. Garbage disposals are useful for fruits and vegetables if they are not stringy and fibrous. Other food items, like coffee grounds, bread, rice, and meat, should not be put through the garbage disposal because they stick to the drainage pipes and cause blockages. Consider recycling organic food waste and adding it to a compost pile.
Maintain a regular schedule of cleaning the stoppers in sink drains and tub drains and flushing the drains with hot water.
Consider using a bacterial cleaner that breaks down organic material, including grease, in the pipes. Bacterial cleaners are non-corrosive and biodegradable and can be used as frequent as on a monthly basis.
Rapid Response to Wastewater Backup
Drain and sewer backup into your home brings health and safety concerns along with an often smelly and gross mess. Sewage water contains a whole host of contaminants that need to be cleaned and disinfected with the appropriate products and processes to avoid cross contamination.
The priority, however, is to stop the dirty water from flowing into your home. The local wastewater department should be notified immediately. They will determine if the main sewer is operating correctly and respond if they find stoppage in the main line. If a problem is not identified in the main sewer line, you will need to contact a drain cleaner and/or plumber to stop the water from continuing to flood your home.
Next comes the clean-up. Sewer and drain water is assumed to be contaminated with bacteria and other pathogens. Knowing how to safely extract any water and gross debris with the appropriate personal protective equipment is critical and not a DIY project. Water damage mitigation companies like STOP Restoration (STOP) based out of Holliston, MA, should be called to clean up. STOP has the knowledge, training, equipment, and products to safely and properly clean and disinfect the impacted area. STOP also works with you and your insurance company to ensure the required documentation needed to support the claim is provided to the homeowner’s insurance company.
If you have a flood of dirty water on the holidays – know that STOP Metrowest provides a rapid response 24/7 to the Greater Boston communities.
STOP Metrowest is an IICRC Certified Firm - safe, quality, and compassionate service is our priority! We provide 24/7 emergency water extraction and restoration of any water damage related issues in Framingham MA or other Metrowest MA communities like Sudbury MA, Holliston MA, and Westborough MA. Call STOP MetroWest at (508) 841-3082.
For more information about this and other services, visit our webpage at STOP Metrowest.