Give grease a chance: Federal Way wants your cooking oil | PHOTOS

Rather than dumping cooking oil in the kitchen sink or toilet, consider the impact of giving grease a chance.

Federal Way unveiled its first used cooking oil collection site March 28 at French Lake Dog Park, 31531 1st Ave. S. Seattle-based General Biodiesel, which is partnering on the project, will convert the oil into fuel — and keep it from polluting Puget Sound and other waterways.

Cooking oil wreaks havoc on underground water pipes. The oil builds up over time, especially in the vicinity of restaurants and businesses.

At Wednesday's event, Lakehaven Utility District officials provided a representation of what could happen to water pipes due to improper disposal of cooking oil. A small piece of pipe was coated on the inside with solidified grease that was a few inches thick. (SEE PHOTOS)

Lakehaven regularly flushes nearly 800,000 feet of piping a year, said commissioner Tim McClain. Although it is unknown how much cooking oil is dumped into the general wastewater supply, McClain said the city's collection site is a good way to promote the recycling of cooking oil.

"The idea is to get people to use it," McClain said of the effort. "Right now, the only place (to dispose of cooking oil) is the garbage or down the drain."

Cooking oil can replace standard diesel fuel and create greater fuel economy in certain vehicles. Gina Tallarigo of Kent brought her biodiesel-powered 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDI to the scene. Her car averages up to 60 miles per gallon of biodiesel. Tallarigo said she once drove from Eugene, Ore., to Kent on one-quarter of a tank of fuel.

Several students from Saghalie Middle School and Todd Beamer High School attended the March 28 ceremony, which featured breakout sessions about biodiesel and recycling. Saghalie seventh-grader Valerie McNolty, 13, christened the used cooking oil collection receptacle. McNolty was selected for the honor after winning a student essay contest.


To view photos from Wednesday's event, click here.

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