What Is FOG, and How Is It Creating Problems for Your Septic System?

October 21, 2021 6:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

FOG is one of your septic system’s worst enemies. If you own a home with a septic system, you probably know that you need to be very mindful about what you put down the drain or flush down the toilets. If you’re not careful, you could be dealing with some unpleasant issues with your system that are more than a nuisance to deal with.

So, what does the acronym FOG mean for septic systems? And how do fats, oils and greases negatively affect your septic system? Read on to discover the important information you need to know.

What is FOG?

FOG stands for “fats, oils and greases.” While you may think that fats, oils and greases only relate to the foods you eat, it’s also in the wastewater that exits your home through the septic system.

Unfortunately for homeowners and business owners with septic systems, there are always some FOG elements present at some level within the system. The highest concentration occurs in restaurants, bakeries and other food service establishments, but they’re present in elevated levels in a home’s septic system, too. Some of the foods you probably enjoy every day are rich sources of FOG, including:

  • Dairy products: Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, ice cream
  • Meats: Chicken, pork, beef and processed meats
  • Oils: Deep-fried foods, olive oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, etc.
  • Processed snack foods: Potato chips, breakfast cereals, cakes

How does FOG affect septic systems?

When FOG enters a septic system or municipal wastewater system, it clings with great strength to any surfaces, including pipes and tanks. Consider how grease from foods stick to plates and pans until it’s removed with hot dishwater and soap. The fats, oils and grease work the same way with your septic system, causing blockages in pipes and trapping other debris and solids. In short, the acronym FOG means danger for septic systems of all types.

Even if FOG makes its way through the pipes and into the septic tank, you still have a problem on your hands. It can disrupt the bacterial processes that are essential for breaking down waste. Since FOG won’t dissolve in water, it never breaks down in a septic tank—the only way to remove it is to pump it out.

As FOG accumulates over time on the surface of the septic tank and inlet pipes, it can completely clog the system and require “jetting” of the pipes. Any remaining elements on the surface of the water in the tank must be removed by pumping. It’s simply a situation you don’t want to deal with, but reducing FOG involved with food preparation and removing it from pots, pans and dishes can keep these materials from finding their way into your system.

Now that you know how fats, oils and greases negatively affect your septic system, you’ll understand why it’s important to watch what goes down your drains at home. In addition to daily mindfulness, routine maintenance and pumping can ensure your system works exactly as it should, safely transporting wastewater from your home. Contact B.H. Cameron Septic Services LLC to learn more about proper care and maintenance for your septic system.

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