Wear and Tear on Pipes: Improper Disposal of Used Cooking Oil

August 24th, 2019 |  Blog and Used Cooking Oil
Kitchen Worker Unclogs Drain

Proper disposal of cooking oil should be a top priority in any restaurant, commercial kitchen or food prep facility. But when the dinner rush hits or workers are busier than usual, taking those extra steps to dispose of oil the right way might seem like more trouble than it’s worth. However, anyone who’s ever experienced the serious damage oil can cause to plumbing will tell you that cutting corners this way will only bring more trouble in the future. Learn more about the dangers of improper cooking oil disposal to get on the right track with used oil management today.

Consequences for Your Pipes

Can oil really hurt your pipes when it glides down the drain so easily? Keep in mind that once oil cools, it returns to a solid state. This solidified fat clings to the walls of pipes, even though other liquids and many cleaners may still travel through. Over time, additional fats, food waste, and other solids washed down the drain will accumulate in the buildup, narrowing the pipes.

This can lead to several serious problems for your commercial kitchen. As pipes become blocked, drains will slow and may back up. Some facilities experience overflows in areas beyond the kitchen, including washroom sinks and toilets. When this happens, cleanup is required immediately to prevent further problems. Flooding can cause additional property damage, and contaminated wastewater presents numerous health risks to employees and customers.

Usually you’ll need to call a plumber, resulting in potentially expensive repairs and lost revenues due to kitchen downtime. Worst of all, in some scenarios even professional help can’t resolve tough grease clogs. In these cases, partial or full pipe replacement is required.

Beyond Your Plumbing

Not every drop of oil poured down a drain will collect in your pipes. Far from good news, this means that grease will be passed on to the pipes that connect your facility to municipal sewer systems. Clogs can occur here too, causing problems for you and neighboring homes and businesses. Facilities that fail to properly manage used cooking oil may be fined for these issues, and you will be liable for any repairs.

Used cooking oil that makes it into the sewer system can have the biggest impact of all. Here, the oil collects trash and solid waste as it travels through municipal pipes, growing larger and harder over time. Dubbed “fatbergs,” these masses can reach incredible sizes. In some cases, fatbergs have been found to be four times the weight of a humpback whale. When a fatberg grows large enough to block sewers, sewage floods buildings and streets, causing extensive property damage and serious public health risks.

Used Cooking Oil Disposal Safety and Your Facility

When it comes to keeping pipes clear and municipal resources safe, restaurants and foodservice facilities play a critical role. If you need assistance disposing of your used cooking oil, SeQuential can help. Our used oil collection service makes it easy for West Coast businesses to dispose of oil without clogging pipes or causing damage. We’ll provide a free container and work with you to arrange pickups on your schedule, so you never have to worry about an overflowing container. To learn more about how we transform used cooking oil into clean, low carbon biodiesel, call 800-447-3794 or contact us online today.