Thanksgiving is over. The leftovers are eaten.
The only thing left is the oils and grease left from preparing the holiday feasts.
At the CSRA Used Cooking Oil Recycling Event, people can dispose of those oils and greases without pouring them down the sink or throwing them away.
Residents can drop off animal fat grease like bacon fat and lard, and corn, canola, peanut, sunflower, olive, vegetable, sesame and soybean oils.
The event is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Columbia County Water Utility Central Lab at 4325 Evans to Locks Road in Martinez, or at the Augusta-Richmond County Utilities Department at 1820 Doug Barnard Parkway in Augusta.
Columbia County Water Utility Director William Clayton said pouring liquid oils down a sink drain can cause serious problems for residents and county sanitary water systems.
“When you pour it down the sink, it gets into the sanitary sewer system,” Clayton said. “It solidifies. It turns back into a hardened grease matter. It will roll into a ball, become huge and clog up the sewer.”
Clayton said oils, greases and fats in the system act like cholesterol in the bloodstream, clogging up arteries and preventing fluid from passing through.
Pouring those cooking residuals down the drain causes 50 percent to 60 percent of sanitary sewer clogs and problems, Clayton said. The problems don’t often go far and will likely affect the home of the resident pouring oils down their drains.
“It is our largest sanitary sewer problem that we have,” Clayton said. “It doesn’t do anything but cause us problems from the time its poured into the drain. It is the most common problem.”
Clayton said there is no treatment to remove oils and other fats from the sewer system. A staffer has to actually skim the solidified fats from the sewage before its treated.
And the same materials poured into the storm drains is the “worst-case scenario,” Clayton said, because the greases and oils will go straight back into natural waterways without any treatment at all.
Oils and other fats are accepted and recycled at the Water Utility lab all year.
“We’ll take it anytime,” Clayton said.
In the past year, about 950 gallons of used oils and grease were collected at the Martinez lab and later recycled.
“They can be recycled and used in products,” Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division Director Pam Tucker said. “They use it to make lipstick, a lot of it.”
Oil brought for recycling should be free of water, soap suds and food scraps. It should be in a clean, non-breakable, leak-proof container with a tight lid.
For more information, call Daniel Scott at (706) 863-6928 in Columbia County or Leroy Anderson in Richmond County at (706) 312-4145.