The Problem with Fats, Oils, & Grease (FOG)

Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) is to sewer pipes as cholesterol is to arteries-both cause residue to build up, restricting and blocking the flow. FOG includes animal and vegetable fats, oils, and greases commonly used and generated from cooking, food and drink preparation, and meat preparation. It ends up on cookware, dishware, kitchen equipment, and floors. When these items are cleaned, the FOG is washed off into the plumbing system, where it begins to cool and separate from the dishwater.

Congealed FOG coats the surface of manholes, pipes, and pumping stations. Blockages then cause sewage spills, manhole overflows, and sewage backups in homes, businesses, and local waterways, potentially causing a loss of business and severe public health impacts.

All of this may result in expensive cleanup costs as well as fines from regulatory agencies. In fact, sewer blockages and backups can cause restaurants and other food and drink service establishments to be closed down and/or be held financially responsible for resulting damages.

What Golden Valley Is Doing About FOG

FOG is such a serious concern that many cities, including Golden Valley, have ordinances and regulations to control the release of FOG into the sewer system. Golden Valley's FOG ordinance requires that all food and drink service establishments install grease removal devices, such as grease interceptors or grease traps, and undergo regular inspections. The City is also reaching out to establishments and advising them on how to properly manage FOG.

A grease interceptor is a large tank located below ground outside of a food service establishment building. It is connected to the wastewater piping and has at least two compartments to trap floating grease and food waste particles.

A grease trap is a small reservoir built into the wastewater piping a short distance from the grease-producing area. Grease traps are appropriate for small, low-volume establishments with limited kitchen equipment and dish washing.

Interceptors and traps require regular cleaning and maintenance, and FOG must be disposed of properly. The City will supply FOG maintenance logs and do routine inspections to check on compliance and answer questions.

Complying with the City's FOG Ordinance

The City of Golden Valley provides Step-by-Step Guidelines (PDF) for getting in compliance and significantly reducing or eliminating FOG from entering your plumbing.

Establishments that fail to comply with Golden Valley's grease waste management policies and discharge FOG to the City sewer may be required to install additional grease-removal equipment, be fined, or even have their utility services terminated.