FOG Control Program
FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Greases. FOG is animal and vegetable fats, oils and greases as extracted from a wastewater sample by select solvents in a laboratory. Fats, oils and greases are natural by-products of the cooking and food preparation process.
The FOG control program is being implemented by the Buena Park Department of Public Works in order to monitor and reduce the amount of Fats, Oils and Grease that Enters our sanitary sewer system.
FAQs on FOG
Why shouldn’t FOG go down the drain?
When FOG is released into the sewer lines in any amounts, it poses a serious threat to the city's sanitary sewer collection system's ability to remove waste from our community. FOG sticks to the sides of pipes decreasing the pipe's capacity and eventually blocking the pipe entirely. This requires our sewer piping to be cleaned more often and equipment replacement due to grease related damages.
What are the sources of FOG? Who produces FOG?
Common sources of FOG include meat fats, dairy products, food scraps, cooking oils, baked goods, sauces, dressings, sandwich spreads, gravies, marinades, dairy products, shortening, lard, butter and margarine.
FOG is produced by restaurants, cafeterias, delis, bakeries, daycares, assisted living, social halls and residential homeowners – basically, anyone who deals with food, especially while cooking.
Why is the issue of SSOs (Sanitary Sewer Overflows) important?
Overflowing sewers release bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that may be hazardous to human health. The sewage may be released into your business or home, or into our waterways, streets and parks. SSOs are unpleasant and expensive to clean up, and if they occur on your property, it is you, the property owner, who is responsible for the clean-up. Having an SSO occur in your establishment may also lower the number of customers.
If the City is responsible for a clean-up, manpower and money are wasted on something that could have been avoided. The costs associated with SSOs are not limited to the Public Utilities clean up costs of containment, removal, and disposal of contaminated materials, emergency line cleaning, disinfectants, sampling and testing, record keeping and documentation, public notification, and OCHCA, EPA & RWQCB enforcement actions. The non-direct costs may include media related costs, property damages, public relations, insurance, worker and public exposure to untreated wastewater (pathogens and viruses) and decreased tourism. These costs will, most likely, trickle down into customers’ sewer bills.
Are there requirements to control my grease output?
Current California Uniform Plumbing Code (CUPC), which the City of Buena Park adheres to, requires any food service establishment that produces grease laden wastes to install a grease control device.
What type of grease control device do I have and where is it located?
There are three types of grease removal devices. One is a large outdoor underground grease interceptor. This is generally made out of concrete and located under manholes outside the restaurant. Another is a smaller indoor grease trap. This is a box which is generally located in the sink area, either above ground or in the floor. The third device is an automatic grease recovery device. This device is a box that separates grease from the water coming out of your kitchen fixtures. The grease is then heated, so that it can be pumped easily to another container, which makes it easy to recycle. This device will most likely be located under a sink or table in your kitchen. If you are unsure of what type of device you have, for your establishment or having problems locating your grease control device, you may contact the FOG Program Officer at (714) 562-3653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a grease trap verses a grease interceptor?
A grease trap is an interior small reservoir built into the wastewater piping closed to the grease producing area. This is normally under the sink but also can be located in the floor. The grease trap is used for conditions where space is limited for an external interceptor. Baffles retain the waste water long enough to separate allowing the grease to rise to the surface. The grease and settled solids can be removed and disposed of properly, either in an exterior grease collection tub or in the garbage. The city recommends grease traps to be cleaned nightly but no less than every two weeks.
A grease interceptor is an exterior in-ground vault. The vault includes minimum of two compartments with floor between each compartment. These are for larger food service establishments. Interceptors have a minimum capacity of 500 gallons but normally consist of 1000 gallons or more. The city recommends grease interceptors be cleaned monthly but no less than every three months. Click here to see illustrations of a typical plumbing layout and grease trap.
Will my establishment be inspected?
Yes. In addition to the inspector’s initial inspection to ensure that your grease control device is installed and working properly, an inspector may come from the City of Buena Park to observe normal operations. The inspector has the right to come into your establishment at any reasonable hour.
What will an inspector look for?
During an inspection, they may ask for maintenance and manifest records from licensed grease haulers. These records along with assurance that Kitchen Best Management Practices (BMPs) are properly implemented, will verify compliance with proper waste disposal requirements. The inspector will look to make sure that you have a properly sized grease control device. Then, the inspector will check to make sure that the device is installed and working properly. This includes checking to make sure that it has not been installed backwards, that the baffles are in place and that the device is not leaking, etc. The inspector or city contractor may check to see what volume of grease you currently have in your grease control device and will ask to see your records of maintenance.
What is the grease control device registration?
For whichever device you end up using (an interceptor or a trap), you must fill out a grease control device registration application. A city building inspector must come inspect the installation of the grease control device and approve it. The registration application is sent to the City so that a record can be made of your compliance.
How big does my grease interceptor have to be?
The minimum size for a grease interceptor is 500 gallons, in order to allow for a decent retention time (length of time a drop of water will stay in the tank). The maximum size is 2500 gallons, special approval is required for sizes larger than 2500 gallons by the Building Department.
How often should I have my outdoor, in-ground grease interceptor cleaned?
As often as it takes to keep below 25% of grease and settled solids. A sludge sampler can be used to determine this volume. A recommended time period is monthly, and the minimum time period between cleanings is three months. A grease interceptor won’t do its job if it isn’t properly maintained. All grease interceptors must be cleaned at least every three months, but some establishments may find it necessary to clean their traps more often. If the establishment has to clean its trap too often, the owner should consider installing a large trap or interceptor. Every interceptor should be cleaned as often as is necessary to avoid exceeding its rated capacity.
How often should I have my under-sink grease trap cleaned?
The frequency of cleaning for an under-sink grease trap depends upon its size. The City of Buena Park FOG regulations state that under-sink grease traps must be cleaned at least every two weeks. A recommended time period to clean grease traps is daily. A grease trap won’t do its job if it isn’t properly maintained. The trap must also be the proper size in order to work properly. Every trap should be cleaned as often as is necessary to avoid exceeding its rated capacity.
How do I clean my grease trap/interceptor?
The City of Buena Park requires that you hire an approved and permitted grease hauler to clean out your in-ground grease interceptors. After your device has been installed and inspected, you must maintain your grease control device on a regular basis. If you have an in-ground interceptor tank, the tank must be pumped out completely and sprayed down before it is more than 25% full of solids and grease. The grease hauler who cleans your tank will record this volume. Grease haulers may be retained on contract, and may give you a lower cost for cleaning to do so.
If you have a grease trap, you may clean it out yourself. Refer to grease control devise maintenance instructions linked from this website.
Can I clean the grease interceptor at my food service establishment?
Not the in-ground, large volume grease interceptor. You must hire a permitted grease hauler to clean it out. However, if you have a smaller indoor grease trap, you may have it cleaned by employees. Refer to the link for interior grease trap maintenance.
How do I choose a grease hauler?
To service your traps and interceptors, the city has provided a list of grease haulers the FSE may contact directly for service.
You have the right to watch the grease hauler and make sure that he or she has pumped out your grease tank fully and has sprayed down the sides. If the grease interceptor is cleaned out properly, that means that you will need it cleaned less frequently, and you are always responsible for the state of your grease control device – so make sure that you’re getting what you paid for. Be sure that you receive a manifest noting the volume of the tank pumped out. Keep the manifests and log sheets on site and accessible for periodic inspections by the City or OCHCA inspectors.
What should I do if I experience a sewer blockage or overflow?
First, call the Buena Park Department of Public Works, FOG Control Program (714) 562-3653. They will come and determine whether the blockage is on your property or City property. If the blockage is occurring on City property and cannot be traced exclusively back to you, then they will perform the clean up. If the blockage is on your property and is obviously due to your improper practices, you will have to hire a plumber to fix the problem.
What do I do with the oil used in deep fryers?
If you are using deep fryers in your establishment, contact a rendering company to provide a bin or barrel for regular pick up. Refer to the link for fryer/ yellow grease rendering companies.
What is the difference between yellow grease and brown grease?
Brown grease means floatable fats, oils, greases and settled solids that are recovered from grease control devices. Brown Grease is composed of floatable FOG and settled solids recovered from grease traps and interceptors. Brown grease is difficult to reuse. The greasy content of the interceptor is known as "brown" grease and is generally disposed at a wastewater treatment facility but may become part of renewable energy sources in the future.
Yellow grease means fats, oils, and greases that have not been in contact or contaminated with other sources (water, wastewater, solid waste, etc). An example of yellow grease is fryer oil, which can be recycled into products such as animal feed, cosmetics and alternative fuel. Yellow grease is also referred to as render able FOG.
Should I use large quantities of detergent to wash grease down the drain?
Products such as detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere. In short, you remove it from your immediate vicinity only to help create a larger problem downstream.
Should I use additives to wash grease down the drain?
Additives are generally prohibited, as many tend to pass grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere.