Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

Believe it or not, the City of Florence has a problem with the improper disposal of fats, oils, and grease (FOG). FOG can originate from animal or vegetable sources, such as bacon grease, dairy products, vegetable oil and olive oil. The City’s wastewater system is not able to handle excessive discharges of FOG. FOG that is disposed of into the wastewater system (see the white/gray buildup inside the clay sanitary sewer pipes to the right) cause blockages and overflows to occur.  The cost, fiscally and environmentally, to alleviate blockages and clean up overflows led the City to create a program to minimize these occurrences.  

Another important role of the FOG program is to prevent grease (mostly used fryer oil), that can be recycled, from being disposed of into stormwater drains which flow directly, untreated, to the environment. Many times, the spill is an accidental overflow that could have been easily prevented.  The photo to the left is a good illustration of this problem.

The FOG Program has a dedicated inspector that inspects over 300 Food Service Establishments (FSE) on the City’s collection system that produce FOG through normal cooking practices.  These FSEs include bars, bowling alleys, restaurants, schools, cafeterias, industry and various other types of establishments.  The inspector checks each individual establishment to make sure that City Codes are being followed regarding the discharge of FOG.  When a problem is discovered, the City works with the establishment to correct the situation, and enforcement action can be taken if necessary.  The wastewater system is monitored downstream of the FSE to determine that the discharge is not affecting the overall health of the wastewater system.  Sampling may be necessary to determine compliance and what appropriate actions may be taken to avoid future incidents.  

New FSEs are added to the system regularly.  The City has put in place an application process to make sure that new and remodeled FSEs have the proper FOG management practices in place such as appropriately sized exterior grease interceptors and/or interior grease traps. The application for new and remodeled FSEs can be found below, as well as other important FOG documents to help minimize the effects of improper disposal of FOG into the City’s wastewater system.  If you have any questions, contact Mark Browder at mbrowder@cityofflorence.com or by phone at (843)665-3236.