Think That Can Go Down the Drain? Think again.
Remember that bacon grease you poured down the drain this morning? Or last night’s oily melted cheese you tossed in the sink? Sure, it seemed harmless. But fats, oils, and grease (FOG) create a huge problem for your pipes. In fact, FOG combined with roots in the sewer system cause sewer backups and overflows by turning into massive, cement-like clogs. This creates an environmentally harmful mess to clean up. And who pays for it? You do! Through increased sewer rates and costly repairs.
Don’t Get Clogged!
The Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Program is designed to provide you with the tools and knowledge to help prevent “clogs” from forming in your home or business and causing a sewage back up or overflow.
Cooking oils, condiments such as salad dressings, and sandwich spreads, meat juices and fat fall into the fats, oils and grease category. When disposed-of down the kitchen drains and garbage disposers, these items can cause blockages in sewer pipes. Grease related blockages could cause the sewer to back up into your home or business through sinks, drains and toilets. Cleaning and plumbing repairs associated with these backups can be very expensive and disruptive.
Whether you’re a business that generates FOG or a resident, you’re encouraged to do your part to help prevent sewer blockages. Doing so will benefit your home, your pocketbook and your community.
How FOG Clogs Pipes
Just as fat accumulates and causes blockages in human arteries, oil and grease solidifies and accumulates in household pipes restricting the flow of wastewater and causing sewer backups and overflows.
Fats, oil, and grease (FOG) separates from other liquids as it goes down your drain. The FOG cools and sticks to household pipes and sewer pipes. Over time, pipes become clogged and wastewater flow becomes restricted. The clogged pipe backs up and floods your home with wastewater. Or, it causes wastewater to overflow onto the street. The untreated wastewater can then flow to local waterways. Sewer overflows can harm the environment. Not only is FOG costly to the environment, it is also costly to ratepayers.
What Are the Proper Methods for Disposing of Fats, Oils, and Grease in the Kitchen? Proper disposal is easy!
1. Fats, oils and grease should never be poured down the sink. Sink drains and garbage disposals are not designed to properly handle these materials.
2. Before washing, scrape and dry-wipe pots, pans and dishes with paper towels and dispose of materials in the trash.
3. Pour fats, oils and grease after they have cooled into a container, such as an empty glass jar or coffee can. Once the container is full, secure the lid and place it in the trash. For large volumes, call Courtney Kenlocke, Water Resource Inspector, at 805–986-6661 for recycling options.
4. Use sink strainers to catch food items, and then empty the strainer into the trash.
Are There Any Tips for Deep-Frying a Turkey?
Yes! Turkey deep-frying often leaves behind three to five gallons of used cooking oil. Follow these steps to safely dispose of used oil:
1. Let the oil cool completely. Pour the oil into its original container or another leak-proof container.
2. Label the container “Used Cooking Oil.”
3. Take the used cooking oil to a disposal station. Call Courtney Kenlocke, Water Resource Inspector, at 805–986-6661 for the station nearest you.
For smaller volumes (less than a quart), allow the oil to cool and solidify. Scrape it into the trash. Add kitty litter to the oil. The litter will absorb the oil and form clumps for tossing in your garbage.
The City of Port Hueneme is the owner of the public sewer system serving your business and is required under State laws to institute a comprehensive grease control program. Fats, oil and grease (FOG) from restaurants and other food preparation businesses cause sewer line blockages and spills. Sewer spills end up in the storm drain system and waterways and are a significant cause of ocean water pollution. Following the FOG Program Rules and Regulations will reduce the possibility of a sewer spill. In order to comply with State regulations, the City has developed a grease control program. A City representative will visit your facility and review:
· Kitchen equipment and drains
· Grease interceptor or grease trap
· Maintenance logs
· Kitchen best management practices
· Spill prevention and cleanup practices
· Grease usage and disposal practices
The best defense against FOG-related sewer spill is to prevent FOG from going down the drain. All food service employees should be regularly trained on Kitchen Best Management Practices.
Train Your Employees the Right Way. Avoid Fines and Clean-Up Costs.
Are you and your employees correctly disposing of fats, oils and grease? If not, it could cost your business and harm the environment. When dumped down the drain, fats, oils and grease cause sewer backups and overflows. This can damage your business, property, profits, and local waterways.
What Should You Do?
· Conduct employee trainings regularly to educate your employees about proper disposal of fats, oils and grease.
What Should You Do?
· Maintain grease removal devices and have them serviced regularly by a licensed waste hauler. Clean all indoor grease traps manually each week at a minimum. Clean indoor automatic grease traps daily.
· Wipe or scrape food residue form pots, pans, dishware, and work areas into the trash before washing.
· Recycle used cooking oil in a barrel or bin. Use a California Department of Food and Agriculture licensed renderer for recycled FOG disposal.
· Protect drains from spills. When an oily, greasy spill occurs, block off any sink or floor drain. Clean up the spill with an absorbent material like a litter or absorbent sweep. Put absorbed materials in plastic bags before placing in the trash.
· Keep overflows from entering the storm drain. Create a barrier using dirt, cat litter or other absorbent material. If an overflow occurs, call the Wastewater Department at (805) 986-6556 immediately.
· Keep signs posted near sinks and dishwashers reminding employees of best management practices.
· Install drain screens in food sinks, floors, mop sinks, and hand sinks, to capture scraps and other solid materials.
· Clean exhaust filters in sinks, not outside. This stops pollutants from entering the storm drains.
· Keep accurate records. Keep all receipts from a grease waste hauler for two years.
Kitchen Best Management Practices (BMP)
The best defense against FOG related sewer spills is to prevent FOG from going down the drain. Please follow the links below for BMP training material.
National Restaurant Association’s FOG Tool Kit:
EPA's Retail Industry Portal:
California FOG Work Group:
Grease Waste Haulers: