Fats, Oils, & Greases (FOG)

Food Establishments:
Restaurants produce FOG (fat, oil, and grease), a major factor in most kitchens. These cooking by-products come from deep fryers, frying pans, and grills. It is transported by buckets and is washed off of cleaning surfaces. FOG often finds its way down the drain, which has an adverse effect on water quality and lead to compliance issues for restaurants.

PROPER FOG MANAGEMENT CAN:

  1. Avoid expensive repairs. FOG solidifies around the insides of underground storm water pipes. This can lead to pipe bursts, overflows, backups and blockages, which can cost you a lot more money than proper FOG management. Food service establishments that contribute to FOG buildup in pipes can even face lawsuits. 
  2. Prevent pollution. When FOG accumulates in sewer systems and leads to overflows, sewer waste ends up in lakes, streams and oceans, causing serious damage to the ecosystem. Furthermore, proper FOG management can help the environment by providing an otherwise wasted source of biodiesel.
  3. Prevent inconveniences that are bad for business. Greasy pipes and parking lots lead to bad odors, rodents and pest problems. 

In the Home:

Fats, oil and grease produced from cooking may be liquids when they are poured into the drain, but they will solidify in the sewer pipes, causing clogs and blockages.  These grease-related blockages are a significant cause of sanitary sewer overflows.  Grease clogs can also cause sewer back-ups and draining problems in your home.

Where is FOG found?

  • Meat fats
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter & margarine
  • Food scraps
  • Baked goods
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products

When you're cooking and cleaning up, the fats, oil & grease from your food are liquids.  But FOG will cool inside of sewer pipes and harden into a solid that can clog pipes and lead to sewer overflows and back-ups both outside and in your home.

DO

  • Pour cooking grease into a metal can. When the grease cools, you can throw the can in the trash.
  • Scrape food scraps into the trash, not down your drain.
  • Wipe cookware and dishes with a paper towel to remove FOG before you put them into the sink or dishwasher.
  • Mix oils and grease with other absorbent materials like paper towels, kitty litter, or coffee grounds.

DO NOT

  • Never pour grease into sinks, toilets, external drains, or storm sewers.
  • Don't rely on your garbage disposal:  while it may grind up food, it won't get rid of grease.
  • Don't run hot water or use degreasing detergents to flush FOG down your pipes. 

Links and Resources

The following are some external links with information on FOG and disposal options:

http://www.sewersmart.org/index.html - Tips for preventing backups and backflows.

http://www.calfog.org/ - FOG Work Group with educational material, links and resources.

http://www.sjgov.org/solidwaste/Cooking%20Oil%20Recycling.htm – San Joaquin County fryer and cooking oil recycling and proper disposal locations.



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