Restaurants and other food service establishments are the main sources of fats, oil, and grease (FOG). FOG can cause sewer backups and overflows if it is allowed to go down drains. These best management practices can help you better manage FOG at your business to prevent costly sewer problems.
Best Management Practices
Prevent FOG from Entering Creeks and Streams through Storm Drains
Some storm drains lead directly to a river, stream, or other waterbody. The discharge of FOG to the stormwater system through a storm drain can harm fish and other wildlife. It may also result in legal penalties or fines.
- Do not wash any kitchen equipment or food-bearing items outside. The cleaning water will eventually reach the stormwater system and could impact nearby streams.
- Cover outdoor FOG storage containers. Uncovered FOG containers can collect rainwater. Since FOG floats, the rainwater can cause a spill to the ground. It may eventually reach the stormwater system and nearby streams.
- Locate FOG dumpsters and storage containers away from storm drains or catch basins. The farther away from the storm drain or catch basin, the more time someone has to clean up spills or drainage before it can enter the system. Be aware of FOG dripped on the ground while carrying waste to the dumpster and FOG that may ooze from the dumpster.
- Use absorbent pads or other material to clean up spilled material around outdoor equipment, containers, or dumpsters. Do not use free-flowing absorbent materials such as kitty litter or sawdust that can reach a storm drain. Absorbent pads or materials can help clean up FOG and prevent it from flowing to a storm drain.
- Routinely clean kitchen exhaust system filters. If FOG escapes through the kitchen exhaust system, it can accumulate on the roof of the establishment and eventually enter the stormwater system when it rains.
Prevent FOG Blockages in the Sanitary Sewer System
- Train and help kitchen staff and other employees implement best management practices. People are more willing to support an effort if they understand the basis for it. Make sure they know that good FOG practices help our protect our environment, private and public property, and public health.
- Post "No Grease" signs above sinks and on the front of dishwashers. Signs serve as a constant reminder for staff working in kitchens. These reminders will help minimize FOG discharge to the traps and interceptors and reduce the cost of cleaning and disposal.
- Thoroughly "dry wipe" pots, pans, and dishware into a solid waste receptacle before rinsing and dishwashing. Dry wiping and disposing of wipes in garbage receptacles will reduce the amount of material going to grease traps and interceptors. Grease traps and interceptors will require less frequent cleaning, reducing maintenance costs.
- Recycle waste cooking oil. Do not pour cooking oil down the sink or drain. There are many waste oil recyclers throughout Oregon. This is a cost-recovery opportunity. Your establishment will be paid for the waste material, which will reduce the amount of garbage you must pay to have hauled away.
- Dispose of food waste by recycling and/or solid waste removal. Some recyclers will take food waste for animal feed. Recycling food wastes will reduce the cost of solid waste disposal. In the absence of such recyclers, the food waste can be disposed of as solid waste in landfills. Solid waste disposal of food waste will reduce the frequency and cost of grease trap and interceptor cleaning.
- Remove garbage disposal and/or food grinder. This type of equipment causes an excessive load of solids to be introduced into the sewer system. Removing them reduces the amount of material going to the sewer.
- Install screens on all kitchen sink drains (openings should be less than 3/16 of an inch). Screens catch food particles to prevent them from flowing to the sewer.