It is about time for holiday tamale-making to get underway, but if you are making them at home, the San Antonio Water System said there is something you need to know.

The people who have to keep our waste water system working urge everyone to avoid making a masa mess.

The solution is simple: “Scrape. Don't rinse.”

“Everybody wants to eat them but they don't think about the aftermath," SAWS repair crewman Eric Lucio said.

Why does masa matter?

This is the time of year when the SAWS sees an increase in clogs and overflows.

“It causes a big problem for us,” Lucio said “The masa gets hard, almost like concrete. It clogs up our pipes. As soon as you throw it down the drain, it starts getting hard and cold. I guess people think it goes away with hot water, and it doesn't.”

Lucio said the problems first appear in customers' lateral lines, and then in main sewer lines as well.

“It will cause a problem for the customer before it does for us because your eight-inch pipe or six-inch pipe will become four inches, three inches and smaller and smaller until it doesn't go any more. Then it will back up inside the house,” Lucio said.

“On top of that, you know with wipes and stuff like that, it gets so big and causes overflows. We're trying to keep them down,” Lucio added.

It takes a pressure truck with a jet stream of water to break through the clog and then vacuum away the muck.

"The biggest thing is that with leftover masa, don't throw it down the drain. Just throw it in the trash or make more tamales," Lucio said with a chuckle.