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INDIANAPOLIS— When you’ve got plates loaded with extra food, just like any other day, you’re probably going to put all that down the sink and hope the disposal does its job. Unfortunately, it won’t.

Your Thanksgiving leftovers may include bones, noodles, eggshells and peels, all things that you may think go away with the garbage disposal.

“We see it all the time,” said Kelson Carter of Carter’s My Plumber. “They get shoved down. Aunt Betty put it in the disposal and it clogs it up right away.”

It may be out of sight for you, but as soon as something plugs up the drain, it can lead to hundreds of dollars in repairs for your pipes.

“As far as trying to get stuff out of the pipes, that’s the hardest part,” Carter said.

If there is a jam, Carter says, some plunging can fix the problem if it’s nothing too crazy. But, those scraps then become your town or city’s issue, especially if you’re pouring something straight into the sewer grate with all of that stuff getting lodged in the sewer system and causing a mess. 

“I’d say this is probably a buildup of a couple of years,” Brownsburg Wastewater Superintendent Kathy Dillon said while holding a solid brick of grease. “If the greases or debris collects in their lateral, then it’s going to block it and then they’re going to start seeing water coming up into their basement, for example, or their toilets or their bathtubs and showers. So, you definitely don’t want that to happen.”

The results of Thanksgiving disposals start to show up in about two weeks.

“It gives that oil and grease kind of a time to solidify and begin catching other debris,” Dillon said. “So this weekend, I think we’re safe. It’s here in about two weeks when all that catches up to us.”

Unfortunately, once the food gets down there, it’s hard to help it along and can end up costing the wastewater department over $10,000 to fix the issue.

“Well don’t put it down there, to begin with, right?” Dillon said. “Instead of doing something after the fact.”

Both personal plumbing and wastewater companies say the only thing that should truly go down your drain is water, even if you have a garbage disposal.

Story by Travis Robinson