MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As if the holidays aren’t stressful enough, the last thing anyone needs is a clogged sink or a ruptured sewer pipe in their neighborhood.

But that’s exactly what could happen if you don’t heed the advice of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department’s Jennifer Messemer.

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“Can the grease year round,” she warned.

Just like certain foods clog your arteries, cooking oils and grease do the same thing to sewer pipes when poured down your drain, toilet, disposal, even your dishwasher. As it cools down it congeals and clogs sewer pipes.

“Well actually it’s a year round problem but it becomes that much more of a problem during the holiday season,” said Messemer. “A lot of times whatever they use to cook somehow involves oil.”

Although the Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department monitors the condition of sewer drains year round with cameras and sonar, South Floridians need to do their part, whether they live in a house, condo or apartment.

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“There are times when we actually have to go in and do some super-duper grease busting and to clear up those pipes so we don’t have those sewer backups,” Messemer said.

If a backup occurs, it won’t just be hardened grease, but raw sewage as well. And don’t count on the county to come to your rescue if the pipes back up in your home.

“If your pipes actually clog up on your portion of your property… that’s actually the homeowner’s responsibility to make repairs and not the county,” explained Messemer.

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To avoid costly repairs and a holiday sewage mess, pour you oil or grease into an empty can, bottle or jar and then discard it in the trash once it has cooled down.