FOG can Clog: Best Management Practices for Dealing with Fats, Oils, and Grease
Food service establishments (FSEs) include any establishments that serve food to the public, such as restaurants, school kitchens, hospital cafeterias, bars, etc. All of these can produce large amounts of FOG.
As discussed in last week’s post, when fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are washed down the drain and enter our sewer system, they adhere to the walls of the pipe. Overtime as FOG builds up, the pipes can become clogged and can cause sanitary sewer overflows. These overflows are not only costly to clean up but can cause health problems and pollute our natural water systems.
With FOG causing about half of all preventable sewer overflows nationwide, water service companies are starting to look much closer at the role that FSEs are playing in the introduction of FOG into our sewer systems. In DC, if a blockage occurs in the collection system, the FSE upstream of the blockage is issued a Notice of Warning, must go through a stringent submittal process, and may face fines and other enforcement actions.
What can you do? Follow these Best Management Practices
- Scrape and dry wipe dishes. Dump leftover food (including liquid food) into the trash. Wipe off grease, sauces, and oily residues from plates, pots, and pans before even pre-rinsing. This can not only save time and water, but will prevent unneeded FOG from entering the sewer system.
- Use strainers on sink and floor drains. To prevent any leftover or loose solid materials from entering the drain, be sure to use screens on your sink and floor drains.
- Use absorbent materials to clean up FOG spills. Clean up fats, oils, and grease spills with dry absorbent materials especially on the floors, even before mopping. Consider putting down absorbent mats in areas of frequent FOG spills.
- Collect and recycle cooking oil. Cooking oil should be collected, stored, and recycled properly.
- Install and maintain a grease abatement system according to local plumbing code. Refer to your local plumbing code or licensed plumber to install the right size and style of equipment in all the right places. Be sure to regularly perform and log all maintenance including pumping by a licensed grease hauler.
- Dump waste water in a drain connected to a grease abatement system. Mop water, which could potentially contain grease should be dumped down a drain connected to a grease abatement system. Similarly, after routinely cleaning the hood and exhaust filters, that water should be dumped down a similar drain.
- Display reminder signs in the kitchen. Display a list of best practices. Display “No Grease” signs at sinks and dishwashers as a constant reminder to not send FOG down the drain.
- Discuss and train kitchen staff. Involve the kitchen staff in your goals of following the Best Management Practices for FOG. Provide proper and continual training for all employees of disposal procedures and the effects of FOG.
W. L. Gary Company can help you most notably with number 5. As licensed plumbers, we can help you to identify what systems are needed, help you get the proper permits, and get it installed. As licensed grease haulers, we can help you maintain your grease interceptors and traps. We can even setup a maintenance contract to help keep your grease abatement systems on track with their maintenance schedule. Let us know how we can help you keep FOG from clogging your system.