Public Works

Fats, Oils & Grease Program

Where does grease come from?
Fats, Oils, and Grease are a natural consequence of cooking and occur naturally in many foods. Grease is the common term for animal fats and vegetable oils. It can be found in such items as:

Meat fats
Lard
Butter and margarine
Cooking oil
Shortening
Food scraps
Baking goods

What are the grease issues?

Grease is frequently poured down the sink drain. The warm oils are liquid, can be poured and thought to be harmless. It may not appear to be harmful but as the liquid cools, the grease solidifies and causes buildup inside the pipes, becoming a hardened mass. The buildup restricts the flow of sewage and clogs the pipes.

The implications can be:

Raw sewage backing up into your home.
Increased calls for a plumber.
An unpleasant and expensive cleanup at your expense.
Raw sewage overflowing into parks, yards and streets.
Potential contact with disease-causing organisms.
Increased cost for local sewer departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers

Here’s What You Can Do:

Never pour grease down the sink or into the toilet.
Scrape grease and food scraps into a disposable container or place in a trash can (after cooling).
Do not put food scraps down the garbage disposal. These units only shred solid material into smaller pieces and will not prevent grease from going down the drain.
Use a strainer in the sink to catch food scraps and other solids.

Fats, oils, and grease are problems for the wastewater system. When hot oil is poured down a drain, or greasy wastewater enters the drain from a dishwasher, the oil cools and can coat the inside of drain pipes, causing slow drainage or blockage in pipes. Limits are set by wastewater treatment authorities on how much fats, oils, and greases (abbreviated as FOG) the wastewater generated by restaurants and food products manufacturers can contain.

The best way to avoid problems with FOG is to avoid disposal in the wastewater system. Large amounts of oil that may come from fryers should never be poured down the drain. The used oil should be collected and recycled. Used cooking oil is actually a valuable material that can be processed into products used in animal feeds, fuels, and chemicals. Accounts can be arranged with reputable collectors to periodically pickup used oil. Usually, a container is placed outside of the restaurant for collection. Oil should be poured from cookware and the residue dry wiped from the cookware before placing into a dishwasher. Oil should not be allowed to drain into a sink or floor drain. Check the local telephone directory under Rendering Companies that can accept used fryer oil.

It is possible to strain or filter oil in deep fryers to extend the life of the cooking oil. Controlling the temperature of deep fryers so that the oil does not scorch will also extend the life. Extending the life of oil means that less oil is recycled or disposed. It also means that less new oil will have to be purchased. The benefit is that money is saved in addition to improving food quality and taste.