Fats, oils and grease (FOG) discharged from restaurants, hotels, institutional kitchens, apartment buildings and other food service establishments (FSEs) is the leading cause of blockages in sewer lines. These FOG blockages, located in either the property owner’s sewer lateral or the public agency’s sanitary sewer system, can cause back-ups into kitchens or basements, or can lead to sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs); it can cause untreated sewage to flow onto streets and travel to storm drains, creeks, and other surface waters. SSOs have become the focus of many large lawsuits and a Report to Congress by the EPA in 2004. This has made the control of the source of these blockages a high priority for the EPA and many states, which are now requiring municipalities to adopt FOG Control Programs. A major part of these programs consist of controlling the FOG discharge from restaurants, etc.
CFR Title 40-Chapter I-Subchapter N-Part 403-§403.5-B-3 specifically prohibits “solid or viscous pollutants in amounts which will cause obstruction to the flow in the POTW resulting in interference.” The resources below are listed to assist FSEs in complying with FOG programs and reducing their liability for SSOs.
Owners / Managers
There are several things a FSE can do to prevent FOG from entering the sewer system. Best management practices (BMP) are a good place to start, but are only one piece of the puzzle. A grease removal device, such as an interceptor or an automated grease removal unit are important, and often required, last lines of defense. An owner and/or manager can help themselves by selecting the proper size interceptor and performing regularly schedule maintenance. Schier has an owner’s manual that includes a calculator to help determine needed size and cleaning schedule (page 4). Other resources include: