Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)


FOG can cause a multitude of problems if it enters the sanitary sewer system. FOG can cause sewer back-ups and service interruptions to customers leading to unnecessary environmental damage. FOG is caused primarily by food wastes that enter the sanitary sewer system through drains. Sources of FOG are Food Service Establishments (FSE) and residential dwellings.

Major Problems with FOG

FOG can cause many problems including but not limited to:

  • Accumulation leads to system blockages
  • Creates pollution from potential sewer overflows
  • Decreased useful life of the sanitary system
  • Environmental strain from increased water use
  • Increased sewer maintenance costs

How to Avoid FOG

Prevention is the best approach when managing FOG. Many of the problems associated with FOG can be prevented by using Best Management Practices (BMPs). Keeping food wastes out of the sanitary system is the most effective way to manage FOG. This can easily be accomplished by avoiding the disposal of food wastes through household garbage disposals or any other drain system. FSEs can minimize FOG in the sanitary system by installing and maintaining grease traps. Grease traps are installed in the establishment's drain system and attempts to trap grease while allowing water to flow freely through the system.

Grease Trap Maintenance

Grease traps must be maintained in order to function properly. If grease traps are not maintained regularly, failure will result, leading to sewer blockages. You should perform routine inspections on a weekly basis to ensure the traps are working effectively. This simple BMP will ensure the trap is removing grease from the waste stream and helping to reduce FOG. Routine cleaning is fundamental to a proper functioning grease trap. 

The frequency of cleaning will be determined through the routine inspections. Each customer will need to determine this frequency based on their usage and type of business. An alternative to grease traps are great recycling containers. These containers also need to be properly maintained to ensure you FOG doesn't become a stormwater pollutant.

Prevention Tips

  • Display "No Grease" signage near drains
  • Do not dispose of food waste in garbage disposal
  • Do not pour grease down the sink
  • Install and maintain grease traps
  • Install drain screens on all drains
  • Remove all excess food prior to washing
  • Train employees on proper disposal and maintenance methods

By having a preventative care program in place you can save large unwanted costs. Implementing BMPs is the best approach and through the use of BMPs, owners and operators can avoid costly backups and higher user rates attributed by FOG. The sanitary system performs best in the absence of FOG.

Please do your part to help eliminate Fats, Oils and Grease from the community's sanitary system.