NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Don't let the "grease Grinch" spoil your holiday happiness.
That's the message from environmental and public sewer experts -- and plumbers.
Instead of dumping turkey drippings and fryer oil down your drain, think of ways to keep fats, oils and grease out of the sewer system, even your septic tank, if you have one.
"Fats, oils and grease rinsed down the plumbing system can congeal and block pipes, causing sewer backups, not only in your home, but into the streets, ditches and gutters that flow into area waterways," said Julia Hillegass with Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in southeastern Virginia.
"Pouring that same grease down a storm drain essentially pours it directly into a stream, river, lake, bay or ocean."
Here's what the commission's turkey-frying tips sheet says about a plumber-free holiday:
What can I do with that oily mess?
Disposing of gallons of fryer oil is a little overwhelming. Pouring it down the kitchen sink or the storm drain is likely to get you a clogged pipe. Instead, use a container with a tight-fitting lid and choose one of these options:
* Store the oil in the original container for reuse. Strain out any particles and freeze. Oil keeps up to six months and can be reused for up to six hours of fry time.
* Freeze it and then throw the hardened oil away on trash day.
* Mix it with unscented kitty litter, sawdust or sand to solidify the oil. Dispose of it in the trash. Scented or disinfectant types of kitty litter can react with the oil and cause a fire.
* Recycle the oil at your community's recycling center
What happens to the oil after I recycle it?
A recycler or grease-renderer turns the oil into raw materials which are then used to make fuel, pet food, poultry seed, soap, cosmetics, perfumes, antifreeze, glues, cement, and inks.
* Contact Kathy Van Mullekom: www.dailypress.com/digginblog