Pretreatment Program

Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) is committed to providing reliable sewer service to all Brownsville residents. Unfortunately, sewer service can be interrupted due to blockages caused by foreign objects discharged into the sewer system.


Sewer backups due to blockages can cause raw sewage, also known as sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), to flow onto streets, homes, and businesses causing thousands of dollars in damages to property and the environment. If not addressed, SSOs can result in strong odors, health, and safety problems.

The cleanup and maintenance required to remove pollutants causing sewer blockages can be expensive, time-consuming and contribute to increasing costs for sewer service.

Help Us Clear Up the FOG

The discharge of Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) from residences is a major cause of sewer blockages in neighborhoods. FOG refers to the residue left over from cooking and kitchen clean up. When poured down the drain, FOG can build up in pipes and equipment causing significant problems in the sewer system and wastewater treatment plants.FOG is found in such things such as:

  • Meat fats
  • Food scraps
  • Lard/Shortening
  • Baking goods
  • Butter/Margarine
  • Cooking oil

Anything put down the drain, garbage disposal, or the toilet combined with FOG can block the flow of wastewater through the pipe forcing it back up the drain resulting in flooding of a home, business, street, or waterway.

Commercial or Industrial customers can also review the following documents for more information:

COB Ordinance 2011-795F
Pretreatment Oil and Grease Ordinance 2006-1449

What Can I do to Avoid FOG?

What can you do as a resident of Brownsville to help reduce the amount of FOG discharged into the sewer system. Follow the basic practices in the kitchen:

  • DO NOT wash food scraps (solid or liquid) down the drain or grind them in the garbage disposal
  • DO NOT pour hot grease down the drain
  • DO NOT pour used cooking oil down the drain
  • DO pour used cooking oil into a container with a top and place in the trash can for disposal
  • DO scrape plates over the trash can. Use mesh drain strainers to catch remaining solid food scraps for disposal in a trash can.
  • DO place cooled grease into a garbage can for disposal

Trash the Wipes - Not the Pipes?

Sometimes we forget the toilet is not a trash can. All wipes, paper towels, and disposable cleaning products belong in the trash. Disposable does not always mean flushable. Flushing wipes and paper towels can cause blockages in the sewer system. What else besides wipes should you not flush down the toilet to prevent clogging the sewer pipes?

  • Kitty litter
  • Plastic or latex
  • Medications
  • Rags
  • Syringes
  • Paper towels