FOG is an acronym for Fats, Oils and Grease and what happens when they are improperly poured down a drain or toilet. The ramifications of FOG can result in a host of nasty and expensive problems ranging from clogging a home plumbing system to the inability to remove waste from city sewer lines. View tips about controlling fats, oils and grease.
How FOG Occurs
FOG typically happens when grease and oils used in the home flows down a drain a toilet, or a restaurant does not properly maintain its grease traps.
Oils and lubricants discharged into floor drains can also result in "FOG."
Food scraps (such as meats, sauces, salad dressings, deep-fried dishes, cookies, pastries, and butter) that are washed down the drain contribute to the effects of FOG by adhering to and clogging the city's sewer lines. Grease build-up in the sewer system can reduce or block the capacity of the sewer pipes, leading to the need for increased cleaning, maintenance and replacement of lines.
FOG can interfere with the normal treatment of wastewater and cause sewer spills - leading to problems no one wants to deal with, such as raw, septic sewage that backs up into your home or neighbor's home - or which can overflow into neighborhood parks, yards and streets, followed by expensive and unpleasant cleanup.
Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of the sewer system or prevent grease from building up. Products such as detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere.
Preventing FOG Buildup
Always scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills and other cooking surfaces and place them into the trash for disposal.
Pour fats, oils and grease into a container such as an empty jar or coffee can. Once the materials have cooled and solidified, secure the lid and throw it in the trash.
Don’t put grease down a garbage disposal. Put drain baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids - and empty them into the trash.
FOG Control Program
The Statewide Order for Sanitary Sewer Systems requires all cities in California to develop and implement a Sewer System Management Plan that documents the City’s procedures to properly operate and maintain its sewer system.
One of the requirements of the Sewer System Management Plan is the implementation of a Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) Control Program to reduce the discharge of FOG within the City’s jurisdiction. FOG is a major contributor to sewer system overflows which causes untreated sewage to pollute surface and groundwater, threaten public health, as well as endanger aquatic life and impair the recreational use of surface water.
Typically, FOG enters a facility’s plumbing system from dishwashing, floor cleaning, or equipment sanitation. A large percentage of Alhambra’s sanitary sewer blockages are the result of FOG from residential, commercial and/or institutional sources. The best way to manage FOG is to keep it out of the plumbing system as much as possible.
Food Service Establishments (FSEs) in the City of Alhambra are required to install and maintain an approved and adequately sized grease interceptor to prevent FOG from entering the sanitary sewer system.
The City inspects all FSEs annually to gather information, provide assistance, and evaluate compliance. The inspector will meet with a responsible facility representative and briefly tour the facility to check for compliance with the City’s FOG ordinance (AMC Section 16.38). The inspector will provide a FOG prevention brochure describing specific practices that can be used to prevent FOG from entering the City’s sewer system. In addition, a FOG Inspection Report for Food Services will be completed to determine if all Best Management Practices are being implemented at the FSE and identify corrective actions that may be necessary for compliance. Maintenance and training logs are provided to facility personnel by the inspector and must be kept current and supported by proper documentation (i.e., grease removal device maintenance logs, service provider receipts/invoices).
Violation of the City’s FOG ordinance can cause an FSE to incur fines and/or additional inspection fees.
It is the goal of the program to educate and assist businesses with the proper techniques to prevent sanitary sewer overflows caused by FOG discharges.