Sewer health

Understanding and addressing residential FOG challenges

The accumulation of fats, oils and grease (FOG) in communal sewer systems poses challenges for homeowners and city officials alike. Fifty percent of the issue stems from how we treat our drain lines at home, the other fifty percent from commercial food service establishments 

The problems caused by commercial wastewater are widely addressed through local code that requires businesses to treat their wastewater before sending it to the sewer. This level of regulation has not been applied to homeowners, however.

It may be convenient to put residential kitchen waste down the drain, but it causes exhaustive and irreversible damage to our sewer infrastructure. 

Traditional grease management methods (like a grease jar in the freezer) have struggled to effectively address the problem, leaving us with persistent clogs and raw sewage overflows. 

Key insights:

Challenge overview:

  • FOG accumulation in sewer systems causes blockages and raw sewage overflows, leading to significant financial costs to taxpayers.
  • Approximately 50% of FOG in sewers originates from residential sources, including individual homes and high-density residential towers.
  • More than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused (

Regulatory landscape:

  • Current regulation predominantly focuses on commercial wastewater management, leaving a gap in addressing residential FOG production.
  • The absence of codes mandating residential wastewater cleanup necessitates alternative strategies.

Market-driven solution:

  • A market-driven strategy seeks to provide practical benefits to households.
  • This includes streamlined waste management, reduced cleanup costs, and a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Beyond FOG mitigation:

  • The proposed solution goes beyond addressing FOG issues by emphasizing the improvement of resident well-being. Expected benefits encompass enhanced community hygiene, a diminished environmental impact, and heightened commitment to sustainable living practices. 

Garbage disposal insights:

  • The reliance on garbage disposals exacerbates sewer problems, underscoring significant drawbacks. This emphasizes the urgent need for proactive measures to minimize the adverse effects on plumbing systems. Importantly, it becomes apparent that garbage disposals not only fail to address the core issue of food waste but actively worsen the situation by redirecting it.
  • Notably, over 50% of American households have garbage disposals, compared to less than 6% in the UK and less than 3% in waste-heavy Canada.

Sprout is the proactive garbage disposal alternative that tackles these challenges head on. By capturing both grease and solid food scraps, Sprout provides a reliable and adoptable solution.