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FOG for Municipalities

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are primarily generated by restaurants and other institutional food service establishments.  They are major contributors to municipal wastewater (sewer) collection system blockages, estimated by USEPA to cause just over 50% of all sanitary sewer overflows (SSO). Municipalities that collect overflow data have reported FOG to be the cause of as much as 70%, and in one case 90%, of the SSOs. As the environmental community moves to more stringently manage FOG, it is essential to work toward a comprehensive and robust FOG management program.

This section is intended to provide resources to help municipalities and POTWs develop and/or enhance their FOG program.

The Sewer Use Ordinance (SUO)

The SUO is a vital first step in dealing with waste water discharges. The SUO provides the legal authority to condition or prohibit discharges, to control discharges through permitting, to require periodic reports, to inspect non-domestic facilities and to take enforcement action. The Sewer Use Ordinance page contains factors that should be regulated in an SUO, as well as draft SUOs and samples from other municipalities.

Plumbing Codes

Plumbing Codes can vary from state to state.  Most western states start with the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), adopting the UPC in-all or in-part with amendments.  Gravity grease interceptor requirements were contained in Appendix H of the UPC prior to 2006.  Starting with the 2006 UPC, these requirements were moved to Chapter 10.  The 2006 UPC also changed the term “grease trap” to “hydro-mechanical grease interceptor” to eliminate confusion. A trap provides a liquid seal to prevent the emission of sewer gases into a structure through the connected fixture. A grease interceptor intercepts free-floating fats, oils and grease from waste water discharges and whether or not it provides a liquid seal, it is not intended to serve the purpose of a trap.  View the plumbing code adopted by:

Advanced Programs

The EPA’s Capacity, Management, Operations and Maintenance (CMOM) program was created to address the importance of predictive and preventive maintenance of the wastewater collection infrastructure;  it is a framework to incorporate best practices to:

  • Better manage, operate, and maintain collection systems

  • Investigate capacity-constrained areas of the collection system

  • Respond to sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) events

The CMOM checklist is a way to take a quick look at the program elements or to benchmark program performance.  A more thorough look at program details can be found here.

Additional Resources

The following websites provide a varied and fairly comprehensive list of additional resources:

  • Clean Water Services website

  • North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance website

  • The American Public Works Association website

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