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This Christmas, Please Don't Feed the Storm Drain!

Gutter Turkey

Issue: North Texans love to feast on deliciously prepared fried turkey dinners with all the trimmings, but what they may be washing down the kitchen sinks or even down the city storm drains may cause North Texans heartburn.

Background:

GreaseFact 1: All too often FOG (fats, oils, and grease from meat, cooking oil, lard, margerine, and butter) are improperly disposed of by washing these messy, greasy residues down the kitchen plumbing system or by dumping it down the storm drain system. Improperly disposing of leftover FOG may cause property damage, health hazards, and environmental problems.

Fact 2: Pipes may be blocked by oils poured directly into the sink, even if diluted with hot water. As sewer pipes back up, sewage and food particles that accumulate can attract insects and other vermin and may create a potential health hazard by exposing people to raw sewage.

Backup

Fact 3: Property damage can also result from sewage backups resulting in expensive clean up and plumbing repairs. Clogged sewers can also lead to overflows, which can runoff into the street and straight into the storm drain system, and eventually lead to pollution of our creeks, streams and area lakes.

Fact 4: Oils pollute streams and creeks by forming a film on the water surface, which prevents oxygenation for aquatic life. Polluted Stormwater runoff can lead to excessive and costly maintenance and cleanup and could result in severe fines from State and Federal regulatory agencies. A firm in Tacoma, Washington was fined $49,000 by authorities for dumping 4,000 gallons of kitchen grease and waste water down a storm drain.

Fact 5: Commercial food preparation establishments and residents should never dispose of fried turkey grease and other cooking oil by dumping it into the storm drain system. Disposing of restaurant grease into storm drains or down manhole covers is illegal under the Texas Litter Abatement Act.

Fact 6: Did you know that used vegetable oil can be recycled into a non-toxic, renewable, biodegradable fuel called biodiesel? Or that used fats and oils can also be recycled into animal feed and other products? Check with your city to see if FOG is recycled in your community.

How you can help:

  • Dispose of large quantities of cooking oil and grease by contacting your community environmental coordinator or your nearest household hazardous waste collection station to find out if used cooking oil and grease is accepted. See the list below for information about recycling used cooking oil in your community.
  • After it has cooled, filter and freeze used cooking oil and reuse it for another meal.
  • Small amounts of cooking oil, such as meat drippings, can be soaked up with a paper towel and thrown into the trash.
  • After it has cooled, pour the used cooking oil into a sturdy closed-lid container, like a coffee can, and dispose of it in the trash. Another option is to slowly mix in kitty litter until all the oil is absorbed and can be placed in a garbage bag.
  • Learn more about FOG by consulting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) FOG web page and the North Texas Grease Abatemen Council (NTGAC) Cease the Grease web site.
  • See the list below or contact your city for proper disposal information in your community.

Turkey

Proper Disposal in Your Community (as of 12/1/06)

The following communities will accept used cooking oil as indicated. No other types of oil (such as motor oil) or any other substance will be accepted. The used cooking oil should be free of any other contaminants such as garbage, aluminum foil, bones, etc.

ArlingtonCity of Arlington

Report someone polluting the storm drainage system call 817-459-6599. Please leave a message if no one answers. The Environmental Collection Center at 6400 Bridge Street in Fort Worth will accept waste cooking oil at no charge to Arlington residents. Please bring proof of residence.

DallasCity of Dallas updated 12/21/09

Pouring your cooking oil down the drain clogs your pipes. Want to know what to do with your used cooking oil? The City of Dallas wants to help you recycle your used cooking oil and any other vegetable cooking oil (sorry no cooking grease, motor oil, or food scraps). Place your cooking oil in rigid plastic containers and secure with a screw top lid for transporting. The City will accept your cooking oil at the locations listed below for recycling. For more information on recycling cooking oil, contact Dallas Water Utilities at (214) 670-6749.

Dallas Recycling Locations:
Fair Oaks Transfer Station - 7677 Fair Oaks Ave (214) 670-6126 MAPSCO 26U
Bachman Transfer Station - 9500 Harry Hines Blvd (214) 670-6161 MAPSCO 33F
Oak Cliff Transfer Station - 4610 Westmoreland Rd (214) 670-1927 MAPSCO 63J
McCommas Bluff Landfill Customer Convenience & Recycling Center (CCRC) 5100 Youngblood Rd. MAPSCO 67N
Green Spot Market and Fuels, 702 N. Buckner Blvd

To learn more about Stormwater runoff in the City of Dallas, please visit the Wheredoesitgo? web site.

DentonCity of Denton (see web site) updated 12/9/09

Don’t Strain the Drain! Curbside collection of cooking oil is available to City of Denton residents in single-family homes and apartments through the City's Home Chemical Collection program. Pour used cooking oil into a clear plastic container with a screw-top lid. To schedule a collection, call Customer Service at (940) 349-8700 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at least one day prior to your collection day. Dispose of greasy leftovers in the trash, not the garbage disposal. Use paper towels to soak up excess oil and food residues on dishes before putting them in your sink or dishwasher.

Fort WorthCity of Fort Worth and the Environmental Collection Center (see web site)

The Environmental Collection Center (ECC), located at 6400 Bridge Street in east Fort Worth accepts turkey fryer oil, other cooking oils, and motor oil; however, please bring used cooking oil in its own separate container, do not mix motor oil with cooking oil. The food oils are recycled to create bio-diesel fuel. The Center is open to residents of Fort Worth and participating cities on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (and it's free!). The Center is closed on City holidays. For more information or to see if your city participates, call the ECC Information Line at 817-871-5257 or visit www.fortworthgov.org/dem.

City of Grand Prairie (see web site) updated 12/21/09

Don ’t clog the main, keep grease from the drain! Grand Prairie residents may register for the next Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event by registering online at www.gptx.org/EnvironmentalQuality/HHW or by calling the Environmental Quality Division at (972) 237-8055. Collection events are held in Grand Prairie (bring proof of residency).

If you don’t want to wait for one of our HHW events, the Environmental Collection Center at 6400 Bridge St. in Fort Worth will accept used oil and other household hazardous waste at no charge to Grand Prairie residents (bring proof or residency). The Collection Center is open Thursday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Saturday at 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (excluding holidays).

Irving City of Irving (see web site) updated 12/21/09

Irving residents should simply return turkey fryer oil to its original container or collect it in another screw-top-type container (no larger than 5 gallons) such as a milk jug after it has cooled. Other vegetable cooking oil (sorry, no cooking grease, fats, food scraps, or motor oil in the same container, please) are also eligible for this recycling effort. Call 972-721-2232 to arrange for curbside pickup.

Irving residents can receive a free kitchen funnel that fits over the mouth of a gallon milk jug (while supplies last!) to assist in their cooking oil collection. Call 972-721-2772 for details or additional information about the disposal of fats, oils, and grease.

Lancaster City of Lancaster (see web site)

Report Sewer Problems to the City of Lancaster Water and Wastewater Division at: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling 972-218-1200. After hours and weekends please call 972-218-2711.

Mansfield City of Mansfield (see web site)

The City of Mansfield is offering residents an opportunity to properly dispose of their cooking oil in a way that protects the environment and sewer infrastructure, and recycles the oil to make biodiesel. Cooking oil needs to be placed in rigid plastic containers, labeled, and secured with screw top lids for transporting. Residents can call the Stormwater Manager at 817-276-4240 for more information about dropping off used cooking oil on Saturday, December 9, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The collection is limited only to used cooking oil. No other types of oil (such as motor oil) or any other material will be accepted. The oil should be free of any other contaminants.

PlanoCity of Plano (see web site)

The City of Plano wants to collect your turkey fryer oil, and any other vegetable cooking oil, for recycling into biodegradable, renewable fuel! The City of Plano Household Chemical Collection Program will pick up used holiday cooking oil from your home and donate it for recycling. Cooking oil needs to be placed in rigid plastic containers, labeled, and secured with screw top lids for transporting. Schedule a collection by contacting Environmental Waste Services Customer Services at 972-769-4150.

This Holiday, Please Don't Feed the Storm Drain!

Locate Stormwater contacts in a particular city, county or watershed.

For more information on this story please contact NCTCOG Stormwater staff.


Sources:

The Stormwater Public Education Task Force for North Central Texas

TCEQ: Reducing Fats, Oils, and Grease in Your Home or Apartment.

NTGAC: Cease the Grease

 
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