Grease is the Word
Recent Sewer Spills Have the EPA's Attention
San Antonio, it's time to face the ugly truth: We have a grease problem.
To confront this unpleasant fact, San Antonio Water System has conjured up fictitious (but widely known) local urban legends of La Llorona and the Donkey Lady for radio ads that pit them against the Grease Monster, reminding customers to discard grease into the trash and not into the sink or down the drain.
The new ads are part of SAWS' ongoing efforts to develop a greater awareness of the damage caused when consumers dump fats, oils and grease down the drain, resulting in clogs and sewage back-ups. SAWS is working to increase preventative maintenance of sewer lines and reduce overflows in response to increased scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is expected to result in costly, federally mandated improvements to the sewer system.
But this costly outcome is something we can minimize as a city, and you can help.
The radio spots feature a weeping Llorona and a braying Donkey Lady, pleading with listeners of local Spanish- and English-language radio stations to "help make the Grease Monster a thing of the past" by properly disposing of sewer-clogging grease and food scraps. The ads ran in English and Spanish on various San Antonio radio stations during morning and afternoon commute times from June-September.
"By giving voice to La Llorona and the Donkey Lady we hope to touch the hearts of San Antonians, so they will help battle the Grease Monster, " said Greg Flores, SAWS vice president of Public Affairs. "If folks laugh a little, it may be just enough to help them remember to scrape their plates over the trash and not into the sink."
Residents can also use a disposable container, such as an empty milk carton or a frozen juice container, to collect cooled grease and fats. (Make sure you use some sort of container that won't melt or deteriorate.) Keep it nearby so it's handy when ready to dispose of larger amounts of oils and grease.
When full, dispose of it in the garbage or take it to the City of San Antonio Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Center, 7030 Culebra Road. For smaller amounts of grease, absorb or wipe with a paper towel and simply toss it into the garbage. Simple, right?
Traditionally, grease is thought of as oil used for frying and bacon grease, but grease and oils can be found in other food items that may surprise you, such as: baked goods, butter, chicken skins, creams and sauces, frosting, ice cream, milk and salad dressing.
The gloppy, slimy, sloppy Grease Monster is the widely recognized cartoon representation of the havoc that grease can wreak on our pipes and sewer systems.
So, start scraping grease into the trash and/or collecting it for later disposal.
La Llorona and the Donkey Lady will be ever so grateful.