Defend Your Drains and Cease the Grease

With the holidays, there has been a lot of cooking in homes across North Texas, and Water Expert Denise Hickey and Horticulturalist Patrick Dickinson help you pay closer attention to what goes down your sink drains.

Cease the Grease and Other Stuff
It’s important to know what you allow to go down your kitchen sink as you cook, especially for all those wonderful holiday dishes. An easy way to remember is to think of “FOG” which stands for fats, oils and grease. These should not go down the drain. A simple solution is to pour used grease and fat into an old coffee can, and when it fills up, throw it away in the trash  bin. Sometimes, we think modern sewer and drainage infrastructure will take care of it but they can get clogged just like your home plumbing, both of which can be very expensive to repair. The average cost to run a new sewer line to a home is about $100 per foot. The average home sits 30 feet from the street which would make the bill $3,000. A used can is free to use the second time around!

Other items such as personal hygiene products, personal wipes, paints and more are also harmful to plumbing and infrastructure. Toilets, sinks, bathtubs and showers are not trash cans. has a wealth of information to learn more and protect our infrastructure because whether it’s someone’s home or a city sewer, it cost money to repair and maintain.

Through January 6th there are free drop off locations as part of the Holiday Grease Round-up where your collected F.O.G. can be safely recycled safely and properly.

Landscapes and Sewer Lines
Residential landscapes and sewer lines have more in common than most people think. Those pipes are typically in the front, and run under ground and through any landscape. Shrubs and trees in close proximity can cause havoc on your pipes.

Make sure to pay attention to how close your trees and shrubs are planted in relation to your water and sewer lines. Each year, homeowners spend millions of dollars having their home water lines and sewer lines replaced due to root infestation. The roots of plants are designed to seek out and absorb water and nutrients. When there is a pipe next to those roots, that plant will try to find its way in. Once the roots enter the pipe, they grow a root clump, absorbing up all the water and nutrients and at the same time clogging up your pipes, which then back up in your home.

If planting a new tree, which now is a great time to plant, pay close attention to the potential pipes in that vicinity. You want to stay as far away from sewer and water pipes as possible. If you do not have that option on smaller lots, then focus on species with less invasive roots, like ornamental trees. There are species of trees that are more invasive than others like Willows, Magnolias and Mulberry Trees. There is a great list of plants and trees to choose from plus loads of information on composting and more at

Visit to subscribe for more tips on watering during the fall and winter.

Watch the full WFAA Green Segment below: