Curriculum Tips

Discuss the important facts about FOG with your students!

General information

Why is FOG a problem?

Fats, oils, and great (FOG), combined with tree roots in the sewer system, can create massive, cement-like clogs which cause more than half of the Sacramento Area Sewer District’s sewer backups and overflows. When put down the kitchen drain, FOG causes sewer problems that can result in:

  • Damage to homes (“Yucky, stinky messes could overflow from drains and toilets onto the floors in your house. Ick!”)
  • Health and environmental hazards (“Sewer overflows in the street can work their way into storm drains, which go directly to our creeks and streams; that’s where the fish and frogs live!”)
  • Costly repairs (“More money spent on sewer bills means less money for other important needs, like food!”)
  • Increased maintenance for cleaning up messes and replacing pipes (“Would you want to clean up a yucky, smelly sewer spill? Somebody has to do it!”)

How does FOG create sewer backups and overflows?

When poured down the kitchen drain, FOG cools, turns solid, and floats to the top of other liquid in sewer pipes. The FOG layer sticks to the sewer pipes and, over time, blocks sewage flow. It can then cause a sewer backup or overflow.

What products contain FOG?

Common sources include food scraps, meat fats, cooking oils, lard, baked goods, salad dressings, sauces, marinades, dairy products, shortening, butter, and margarine.

How can kids help solve the FOG problem?

Encourage students to implement the following steps at home to dispose of FOG the right way. “It’s easy for you and your family to do your part. Just follow these simple steps . . .”

Discuss an Action Plan

  1. Encourage students to share and FOG disposal tips at home.
  2. Invite students to visit the Kids’ Corner on
  3. Ask students to share their ideas about what they can do at home to keep their kitchen sewer pipes clog-free. Encourage students to implement these steps at home to dispose of FOG the right way!

Show how FOG clogs pipes

Just as fat accumulates and causes blockages in human arteries, fats, oils, and grease accumulates in kitchen pipes, causing sewer backups and overflows.

The six steps below explain how it happens:

  1. FOG separates from other liquids as it goes down the kitchen drain.
  2. FOG cools and sticks to sewer pipes.
  3. Over time, sewer pipes become clogged and sewage flow becomes restricted.
  4. The clogged sewer pipe backs up and floods homes with sewage, or it causes sewer overflows outside.
  5. The untreated sewage can flow to local waterways—these sewer overflows can harm the environment.
  6. Not only is FOG bad for sewers and the environment, it can be costly to ratepayers. The cost of repairing clogged sewer pipes affects everyone’s sewer rates.


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