Fats, Oils, Grease, and Rags

Managing fats, oils, grease, and rags in the wastewater system

Fats, oils, grease, and rags (paper towels, disposable wipes, tissues, napkins, and other textiles) that are flushed down the drain disrupt the flow of wastewater through the sanitary sewer system. This disruption can cause expensive damages, both to your business's plumbing and to the regional sanitary sewer system.

These costs are passed on to users of the system — that’s about 90% of people and businesses in the region. Fats, oils, grease, and rags in the sewer can build up over time, reducing the amount of water that can flow through the pipe. These blocked pipes cause sewer backups interrupting sewer use and causing messy and expensive property damage that require time and money to fix. Repair costs to the city or regional system can be passed along to establishments that discharge excess fats, oils, grease, and rags into the sanitary sewer system.

Furthermore, these kinds of pollutants and contaminated water cannot be dumped into the storm sewer system. This action is prohibited by law and can have harmful impacts on the environment and the public’s health.

Task force

These substances have been an ongoing problem throughout the region’s wastewater collection system and for the customer communities connected to it. As our region grows in population, we anticipate an increase in more blockages and problems from fats, oils, grease, and rags across the system, as well as costs to fix the resulting problems.

To address this, the Met Council invited stakeholders from communities, food service establishments, and local industry to participate in a task force to talk about joining forces and identifying ways to tackle the problem together. 


Task force members expressed a great need for educational and outreach materials. We focus on food service establishments, and will be adding materials as we expand this toolkit.

Contact us

Angie Peterson
[email protected]