WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY- - Fats, oils and grease being poured down drains and hardening in sewers has become an issue in Washington.
City officials are calling it "FOG".
According to Adam Waters, Washington's Water Resources Superintendent, out of 151 sewer backups in the city last year, 50 to 60 percent were FOG related. In residential neighborhoods, nearly 90 percent of backups are FOG related.
City officials estimate that sewer backups due to FOG cost taxpayers 95 to 100 thousand dollars a year. Water and Sewer employees spend 50 to 60 percent of their time getting it out of pipes.
It can cost some homeowners even more if they have water back up into their houses due to clogged sewers.
Michael Apple, Washington's Environmental Health and Protection Officer, said FOG can be a health hazard "if you've got a lot of grease backing up, especially if it gets out into the streets. You have, in the summer time you have flies, rodents will come out. Everybody hates those cockroaches that they see everywhere."
Apple said the city's been able to keep FOG from getting into the river, but if it did, it could harm marine life, possibly cause fish kills and deplete the river's oxygen.
To dispose of fats, oils and grease, officials encourage residents to wait for them to harden and dispose of them in the garbage.