Fats, Oils and Greases (FOGs)

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Cooking oil is one of the primary causes of residential, commerical and public wastewater line clogs resulting in sewer spills throughout the Territory. The spilled sewage eventually reaches our pristine waters surrounding our islands, causing unsafe conditions and temporary closures of our beaches.


St. Croix: (340) 712-4999

St. Thomas
St. John: (340) 715-9199

All cooking oils that are disposed of improperly can cause problems in the sewer system. These include:

  • frying oil
  • salad oil
  • meat drippings
  • bacon fat
  • greasy leftovers

Important Facts

  • Cooking grease coats pipelines similar to the way that fatty foods clog human arteries. The grease clings to the inside of the pipelines, eventually causing complete blockages.
  • Costly home plumbing bills are often the result of grease-clogged pipelines. Residential pipelines clog easily since they are only 2”-4” in diameter.
  • Many people are unaware that pouring hot water and detergent down the drain only breaks up grease temporarily. Grease should NEVER be poured down the drain. If small amounts of grease accidentally get into your drain, flush immediately with cold water.
  • Flushing grease down the toilet also causes sewer back-ups.

By following a few simple steps you can help prevent costly sewer spills in the future.

Step 1
All cooking oil should be poured either back into the original container or into an old milk carton, frozen juice container, or other non-recyclable package, and dispose of in the garbage, not down the drain.

Step 2
Dishes and pots that are coated with greasy leftovers should be wiped clean with a disposable towel prior to washing or placements in dishwashers.

Step 3
Instead of placing fat trimmings from meat in the sink, put them in a trash can. ALWAYS put cooking grease containers and greasy towels in a plastic bag before disposing of them in your trash bag. NEVER dispose of cooking grease directly into your sink.

Other Causes

  • The continual flow of nutrient-filled water found in pipelines attracts tree roots through the pipe joints and manholes. The roots eventually grow, causing separation of the pipeline joints or blockages in the pipe. Always avoid planting trees and shrubs near residential and public sewer lines.
  • Rocks, debris, power outages, vandalism, rain and construction are also contributing factors to sewer spills.

It’s Your Business

  • Restaurants, residents with food preparation licenses, or establishments which prepare foods shall install on-site pre-treatment traps (grease traps), interceptors or other proper devices.
  • Maintenance of interceptors and disposal of grease shall be done by licensed transporter of wastewater or recyclers.
  • The VIWMA shall fine a person or commercial, industrial or other business entity for any accidental discharge.


St. Croix: (340) 712-4999

St. Thomas
St. John: (340) 715-9199

Be prepared to indicate the location, the nature of the problem(s), and provide your name and phone number, if necessary.

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