Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) enter the sanitary sewer through sinks, floor drains, dishwashers, and other kitchen equipment plumbed to the sanitary sewer. FOG and solid food waste entering your drains may cause blockages in either your plumbing or the sanitary sewer lines by building up along the walls of the pipes. This can lead to a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) inside your home, business, adjacent buildings, streets, or the environment. These spills are a safety hazard that can endanger public health and impact the health of our creeks and Bay.
The City of Pacific Grove is mandated by the WDR’s to prevent SSO’s originating from food serving establishments. FOG is a primary contributor to SSO’s, and therefore should be managed using grease traps and interceptors to prevent adverse effects on sewer lines. Municipal Code Chapter 18.08, Grease Traps, requires all food service establishment or any other business discharging grease, oil or other similar material shall have an operable grease trap, grease interceptor or other comparable device(s) as determined by MRWPCA and the city’s chief building inspector to be an adequate substitute for a grease trap or grease interceptor.
How grease traps work
This equipment works by separating the FOG from the wastewater. Greasy wastewater entering the interceptor passes through a vented flow-control fitting that regulates the flow of the wastewater. The wastewater then passes un¬der one or more separator baffles, or regulating devices within the interceptor, that separate the FOG from the wastewater. The FOG then floats to the top of the interceptor, where it accumulates until manually removed. The grease-free water continues to flow through the interceptor into a wastewater discharge pipe, and then to the City’s sewer system.
Fats, Oils, & Grease Control Program
The USEPA and the State of California have identified FOG as a pollutant of concern and are requiring collection system agencies to develop and administer Sewer System Management Plans (SSMPs). The FOG Control Program is one element required in the SSMP. The goal of the FOG Control Program is to reduce the amount of FOG being discharged into the sanitary sewer. The City’s SSMP can be found here.
The FOG Control Program requirements are enforced through plan checks, inspections, and education. Inspections occur during business hours. Inspectors will ask to see documentation showing your food service facility is managing its FOG correctly, and will inspect indoor and outdoor areas and review your cleaning practices with you. Upon completion, a written Inspection Report will be provided and, if needed, inspectors will conduct a follow up inspection to verify that all violations are corrected. Uncorrected or serious violations will result in escalated enforcement, up to and including fines.