A Helping of FOG for Thanksgiving

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Let’s take a minute to talk FOG.

No, silly, not the weather kind of fog.  Fats, Oils and Grease is the new FOG to think about for Thanksgiving.

But first, think of your turkey as the Native Americans once did of the buffalo.  The buffalo supported virtually everything needed. The turkey provides a wonderful meal with family and friends.  It provides for leftover sandwiches, stock for turkey soup, the ceremonial wishbone, and the tryptophan is a good excuse for an afternoon nap.

However, the magnificent turkey dinner, with the best intentions, likely produces FOG.  Proper disposal of the fats, oil and grease is necessary for the maintenance of the sewers and the protection of the wonderful assets we all enjoy, like beaches, the harbor and the bay.

Bottom line, proper disposal is an environmentally important task, so do not dump FOG down the drain.

The city is responsible for collection and conveyance of waste water to the Orange County Sanitation District’s Huntington Beach plant, where it is treated and either discharged to the ocean, recycled for non-potable ReUse in irrigation (NB Country Club, Big Canyon Country Club, medians and city-owned parks) or pumped into the local groundwater basin to be available for future use or as a seawater intrusion barrier for the basin.

Water conservation efforts have altered behaviors to lower use, and that’s good.  But the low-flow toilets and showers have the unintended consequence of producing lower flow in the sewers, potentially allowing for the FOG to gunk them up.  So the city has a grease-control ordinance, focused on restaurants, to require grease interceptors, with inspection and enforcement.  It is like an alphabet soup with terms like WQMP, WDR, SSO, SSMP.  I simply say EIEIO.

But in the home, do you really take notice of what you put down the garbage disposal in your sink?  Prevention of FOG and cleanout of sewer laterals is critical.  Best practices focus on source-reduction efforts.  So scrape the food plate into a container instead of the sink.  You can then use it in your composting efforts.

Costa Mesa Sanitary District has a cool and unique service available to all.  If you are looking for a solution to your excess holiday cooking oil you can bring your unwanted grease to Orange Coast College Recycling Center (on Adams Avenue between Harbor Boulevard and Fairview Road, Costa Mesa), Nov. 21 through Jan. 6.

This Monday, KTLA Channel 5 will be on site to kick of the event with Gayle Anderson. You can see the segment at 7:10, 8:10 and 9:20 a.m.

Cooking Oil can be recycled! It is processed into clean-burning bio-diesel fuel for vehicles and into soap, skin products, perfumes and other personal care or cosmetic products.

Some other green holiday ideas are to make your table centerpiece from things you have or can collect from your yard, the beach, or walks in the neighborhood.  Buy locally produced food  that is in season, and shop small.  Think about ingredient choices, visit a farmer’s market with a handcrafted basket or ReUseable totes.  Try a wine that is certified biodynamic – might I suggest Frogsleap.com?  And what is your apron made of?

Play Earthopoly – it’s like Monopoly, only you collect carbon credits.  Or just play your favorite game that facilitates conversation with family and friends, perhaps the most sustainable behavior of all.

Who has the fun facts for Thanksgiving dinner now!

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