Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

Edgewater residents are being urged to stop putting fats, oils, and grease down the drain/toilet so as not to clog up the sewer system.

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) has sent out a notice asking residents to be mindful of the materials they are rinsing away after several sewer blockages were discovered.

“It is essential that cooking leftovers (fats, oils, and grease) go in the garbage and never in the sink or toilet,” says RDEK Utilities Superintendent Tom Altmann. 

He noted the cost to vacuum all of the sewer lines in Edgewater is between $5,000 and $7,000 and could have to be done twice a year, resulting in operating costs increasing substantially.

Altmann says residents should not put the following down the drain: baking goods, butter, lard, shortening, cooking oil, fats and oil from cooked meats, food scraps, gravy, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and wipes (even the flushable variety). 

Residents are advised to pour cooled fats, oils and grease into containers and putting them in the trash. They are also encouraged to wipe excess materials from dishes and dispose of them in the garbage. In addition: use sink strainers to catch food waste, put food scraps in the garbage, and never flush wipes down the toilet, even if the packaging says it is safe to do so.

Altmann explains that the easiest way to avoid blockages and help prevent overflows of raw sewage is to keep this material out of the drains.

“It’s important to understand that even small amounts of these materials from many residents can add up to be a large and costly problem. The good news is, this is preventable, and we are looking to residents to be part of the solution,” Altmann points out.