Grease Removal Requirements

Attention Food Service Establishments

The City’s Public Works Department has special Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) removal requirements that apply to any facility where food is manufactured, packaged, prepared, or served. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Restaurants
  • Delicatessens
  • Coffee shops
  • Donut shops
  • Commercial kitchens (catering or small business)
  • Halls and auditoriums with kitchens

WHAT IT IS

A grease removal device prevents fats, oils, grease and other solids from building up in the facility’s plumbing and “downstream” in the City’s wastewater system and in the local waterways.

HOW IT WORKS

Most food establishments use or generate oils and fats of some kind in different aspects of their operation, from prep to cooking to serving. Examples include everything from lard and meat drippings to nut butters and vegetable oils.

Residue from all this “kitchen grease” ends up going down the drain, along with solids such as vegetable matter, when items are washed in the sink or dishwasher, or when mop-water is sent down the floor drain.

A grease removal device is installed directly below a sink, adjacent to a dishwasher, or at the point where a site’s plumbing system and the City’s sewer system meet.  Its job is to trap the fats, oils, grease and other solids before they enter the City’s sewer system. Periodically, the food establishment cleans the device and disposes the accumulated grease in the trash.

WHY IT’S NECESSARY

Without grease removal devices, solids build up in the plumbing and causes sewage to back up at the facility and throughout the system. Sewage backups are serious: they can shut down a business and cost a business owner thousands of dollars to clean.

Too much fats, oil, and grease in the wastewater system is expensive for the City, too. Tax dollars must be spent on staff time and equipment to flush grease out of the system or treat it at the Ellis Creek wastewater facility. Tax dollars are also spent any time the City does not meet regional standards and, as a result, is fined by regulators.

Finally, accumulated fat, oil, and grease is bad for the environment.  Any grease that gets through the wastewater system eventually enters the local waterways, causing damage to plants and animals.

REQUIREMENTS

New Businesses: All new food service establishments are required to install a grease removal device according to City Code.  We recommend that you understand grease removal requirements before you sign a commercial real estate lease or purchase agreement.

Existing Businesses: Tenant improvements and change of ownership requests will trigger a review of existing grease removal devices.  Additionally if an inspection determines that the grease removal device is not effectively removing grease and solids, the City may require that you upgrade your device to protect the collection system.

WHAT IS NEEDED

The type of grease removal device that you need depends on a few factors:

9 or fewer drainage fixture units and no dishwasher
You need a minimum 50/100 (fifty gallons per minute and 100 lbs.) grease removal device

10 or more drainage fixture units and/or a dishwasher/sanitizer
You need a minimum 1,000 gallon or greater below-ground gravity grease interceptor.

NEED HELP?

The Public Works and Utilities Department works with businesses to determine proper sizing of grease removal devices and ensure compliance.

  • Click here for complete details on City requirements for food service grease removal devices.
  • Contact James Hiller, Environmental Compliance Inspector: 707-778-4409 or jhiller@ci.petaluma.ca.us


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