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:
- 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 must clean the device and dispose of 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.
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: The City conducts regular inspections of existing businesses with grease collection devices. It also reviews and inspects grease removal systems as part of tenant improvements and change of ownership requests. You may be required to upgrade your device if these reviews/inspections show that the device is not effectively removing grease and solids in your existing operation or in the operation you are planning.
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.
The Public Works and Utilities Department works with businesses to determine proper sizing of grease removal devices and ensure compliance.