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Coos Bay's problem with fat, oil and grease: 'They just dump it down their drain'

Coos Bay on mission to keep fat, oil and grease out of the sewers

COOS BAY, Ore. - An everyday household item is causing big problems with the sewage system in Coos Bay, and now, the city is trying to tackle this nation-wide issue.

F.O.G. is the problem, and it's not settling in the sky, but in your drain.

It stands for Fat, Oil and Grease. These everyday things recently caused a sewage overflow in Coos Bay by blocking the pipes and backing up water into the street through a man-hole.

"People don't realize that, and they just dump it down their drain," said Jennifer Wirsing, an Engineer at the City of Coos Bay. "It increases maintenance in how we clean our pipes, it increases operations and maintenance at our pump stations and also at our treatment plant and that increases cost."

The F.O.G. goes through the kitchen, through the sewer pipes, and is picked up by the cities 23 lifts to flow water to the water plant.

"The lift station pumps can actually fail because the grease gets so thick and dense," said John Dunty, the Wastern Region Consultant. "We need to remove that. If we don't, it becomes fertilizer for the environment when it goes out into the bay."

They've got a few habit-forming tips to make sure that F.O.G. stays at your household, and doesn't end up in the sewers. For instance, take a paper towel and rub it over a pan, put that paper towel in a plastic bag and store it under your sink or freezer and dispose of it in the trash the next day.

The city is now working to develop at F.O.G. reduction plan as well. Water released into the bay is 95% clean or higher.

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