Residential Sewer Problems

Cooking Grease
Cooking grease is the primary cause of most residential sewer line blockages. The spilled sewage from blocked lines is a serious health concern and often reaches local beaches and waterways causing unsafe conditions, beach closures, and harm to the environment. Improperly disposed oil, grease, and fat can cause problems in the sewer line, often resulting in costly home plumbing bills.

Cooking grease includes:
  • Bacon Fat
  • Frying Oil
  • Greasy Leftovers
  • Meat Drippings
  • Salad Oil
Important Facts
  • Grease, oil, and fat coats pipes similar to the way that fatty food clogs human arteries. The material clings to the inside of the pipe, eventually causing a blockage.
  • Expensive home plumbing bills are often the result of grease clogged pipelines.
  • Many people are unaware that pouring hot water and detergent down the drain only breaks up grease temporarily. Grease should never be poured down the drain. If small amount of grease accidentally gets into your drain, immediately flush drain with cold water.
  • Flushing grease down the toilet also causes sewer clogs and backups.
Prevent Sewer Spills
By following a few simple steps, you can help prevent costly sewer spills.
  • Step 1: Cooled cooking oil should be poured into an old milk carton, frozen juice container, or other non-recyclable sealed container and disposed of in the garbage.
  • Step 2: Dishes and pots that are coated with greasy leftovers should be wiped with a disposable towel prior to washing or placing in the dishwasher.
  • Step 3: Instead of placing fat trimmings from meat in the garbage disposal, place them in a trash can.
Report Sewer Spills
If you see or smell something that you think might be a sewer spill, immediately report it to the City of Fountain Valley’s Public Works Department during normal working hours at 714-593-4433, or the Fountain Valley Police Department at 714-593-4485.

Other Blockage Causes
The continual flow of water found in pipelines attracts tree roots through pipe joints. The roots eventually grow, causing blockages and separation of the pipeline joints. Avoid planting trees and shrubs near residential and city sewer lines.

Clogged sewer lines can lead to considerable expense to clean and repair. All expenses from the cleaning and repairing the sewer line that runs from your house to the street is your responsibility. For more information on water pollution prevention, please go to the Orange County website. If you don’t have a computer, please call the Public Works Department at 714-593-4441.

Food Service Information
  • Ordinance approved regarding installation and maintenance of grease interceptors at food service establishments.
  • Concerns over sewage spills polluting local waterways have prompted the state to enact several measures to prevent their occurrence. One of these measures requires cities to adopt regulations on the installation and maintenance of grease control devices at food service establishments (i.e. restaurants, bakeries, and supermarkets).
Sewer overflows are often caused by improperly maintained grease interceptors. Sewage from clogged grease interceptors often enters the storm drain system where it flows to the beach or tidal areas, causing significant health, safety, and environmental concerns.

To comply with the state regulations, the City of Fountain Valley has approved an ordinance intended to prevent sewage spills from food service establishments. Care was taken in drafting a reasonable ordinance that would achieve the desired effect, comply with state regulations, and create the least amount of burden on your business. A copy of the ordinance is found at the City of Fountain Valley’s website.

Preventing sewage spills is in everyone’s best interest, and preventive maintenance is your best insurance to steer clear of the cost and inconvenience to your business that often results from sewage spills.

The city looks forward to answering all of your questions regarding this new challenge and will work with you to minimize its impact.