Palouse Environmental Update

David Hall, Community Member

Beware of the F.O.G. – Residential Fats, Oil, & Grease (FOG) Reduction

You may have heard a bit about fat-bergs in the news. See for example The Museum of London Just Put a Fatberg on Display And It Sounds Horrifying: They did have to solve a toxic gas problem [Brueck, Hilary. February 8, 2018. Business Insider.], and

London's ‘evil, gut-wrenching, rancid' fatberg is to go on display next year. [Smith, Andrea. December 15, 2017. Lonely Planet.]

What is FOG? FOG refers to Fats, Oil, and Grease from food preparation and kitchen clean up. FOG is found in such things as:

  • Meat fats (bacon grease, pan drippings, etc.)
  • Food scraps
  • Lard and shortening
  • Baking goods (uncooked batter and dough)
  • Butter and margarine
  • Cooking oil
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products

When poured down the drain, FOG can build up in pipes and equipment and cause significant problems in the sewer system and wastewater treatment plants. Sewer line blockages that cause sewer overflows are the result of improper disposal of FOG. Sewer overflows cause environmental health hazards and property damage and lead to increased operation and maintenance costs which show up as higher sewer bills for you the customer. FOG that reaches the wastewater treatment plant affects the Biological Nutrient Removal process, increases Biological Oxygen Demand, and increases maintenance for removal.  [City of Moscow. Residential Fats, Oil, & Grease (FOG) Reduction_Moscow, ID.pdf]

Why should I care about FOG? Residential households contribute FOG build-up in the sewer lines when grease is washed into the plumbing system, usually through the kitchen sink. FOG build-up must be physically removed from sewer lines by City of Moscow staff. This requires expensive equipment and is a time consuming process. FOG does not always wait until it gets to the city sewer lines before it starts accumulating in pipes. It can be a major contributor to blockages in private sewer lines. When a blockage occurs within your plumbing system, you are responsible for removing the blockage. Doing so can range from inconvenient and unpleasant to quite expensive if a plumber’s service is required.

What can I do? The easiest way to solve the grease problem is to keep FOG out of the sewer system in the first place. Follow these easy disposal tips:

  • Never pour grease, fats, or oil down the drain or garbage disposal.
  • Pour FOG into jars, cans, or plastic tubs (careful, the liquid may be hot!) or "Fat Trapper" container. Let contents cool and solidify. When the container is full, throw it away with your trash.
  • Used cooking oil can be taken to the Moscow Recycling Center in sealed containers no larger than 5 gallons.
  • For greasy pans, pour off the grease into jars, cans, or plastic tubs, and use a paper towel to wipe out the remaining grease in the pan prior to washing.
  • Scrape food scraps and residue from plates and cooking utensils into the garbage. A silicon scraper or spatula works great!

City of Moscow Herbicide No Spray list

Any City of Moscow residents who wish not to have the City spray herbicides on their street curb area and/or the adjacent alley and are willing to control weeds themselves may call or e-mail the City Street Department (contact information to come) to be put on the “no spray list.”  

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the Palouse

CSA is a relationship between farms and customers. Instead of simply purchasing produce, customers can become members of the farm’s CSA in advance of the growing season and receive a share of produce weekly.

Deep Roots Farm – 22 week season. “Market bucks,” not a strict CSA. Create your own credit account for any market Deep Roots Farm attends.

Omache Farm – 21 week season, May 30 to mid-October. Pick-up Wednesdays at the Pullman Farmers Market.

Victory Farm – 20 week season, June to mid-October. Pick-up on farm or in Lewiston. Victory Farm also offers a market share; use credit to purchase produce at Moscow Farmers Market.

Link’d Hearts Ranch – 16 week season, June to September. You-pick on the farm at Palouse, Washington.

Pioneer Produce – 20 week season. Pick-up Wednesdays at Pullman Farmers Market.

[“CSA Membership Information 2018” flier from UI Extension–Latah County Small Farms and Horticulture, (available at the Moscow Food Co-op)]

Moscow’s Water Conservation Device Giveaway Program

The Moscow Water Department is offering to the citizens of Moscow free water saving devices for inside and outside the home. The City can give devices only to residents who obtain their water from the Moscow Water Department. To pick up your free water conserving devices stop by 201 North Main Street between 7 am and 4 pm. 

water giveaway.png
  • Toilet Leak Tabs Five
  • Minute Shower Timer
  • Earth Shower Head   
  • Earth Shower Head
  • Bathroom Aerator     
  • Kitchen Aerator
  • Rain Gauge         
  • Dramm Pistol Nozzle
  • Hunter Rain Click     
  • Dramm Water Timer

The City of Pullman has similar program, but their web page has a date of 2013 on it. It says, “To help and encourage residents to conserve water, the city offers to water customers various water-saving devices such as low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators, etc.” []