Food-related Businesses

Grease Control Requirements for Food Processing Facilities

Grease discharges from food processing facilities create blockages in sewer lines resulting in many costly sanitary sewer backups and overflows. To help minimize grease in the sewer collection system, food related businesses are required to install and maintain outdoor grease interceptors as an integral part of the food establishment.

The build-up of fats, oils, and grease on the interior of sanitary sewer pipes is particularly significant in areas where there is no grease interceptor or traps at food-service facilities, or when an existing grease interceptor or trap is not sized or maintained properly. In either case, grease exits the facility's private sewer lateral and empties into the public sanitary sewer collection system, solidifying and causing costly sewer blockages and problems at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

It is the Utilities Department's mission to eliminate the amount of grease that is deposited into the sanitary sewer collection system. In order to ensure compliance with the Ordinance under Section 13-12-210 of the Municipal Code pertaining to grease interceptors, the City has developed a Grease Control Program. The program includes:

1) Grease Inspection program of grease interceptors and traps

2) Review of construction plans for new Food related Businesses

3) Retroffing Program for existing food related businesses

Grease Interceptor

Wastewater from commercial kitchens is collected from kitchen sinks, dishwashers and kitchen floor drains. This kitchen drain discharges into the outdoor grease interceptor (or sometimes indoor grease trap). Both, the grease interceptor or trap, are tanks. The tank's job is to slow the flow of wastewater and allow it to cool down. As the wastewater cools in the tank, fats and oils, being lighter than water, float to the top and are "trapped" inside the tank. Food scraps, being heavier than water, are collected in the bottom of the tank.

Grease Interceptor or Trap Maintenance Requirements

It is required under City Ordinance that all grease interceptors be pumped every 90-days; and grease traps be cleaned-out every 7 days to ensure proper functioning.

Grease Interceptor & Trap Maintenance Issues

Poorly maintained grease interceptors and traps allow grease to escape from the tank, and become hard and cling to the interior of the drain and sanitary sewer pipes. Over time, this build-up of fats and oils will cause clogs in sewer lines. These clogs could cause sewer back-ups into residential homes and manholes. Back-ups in manholes will cause overflows into the street and nearby storm drains. This can be very costly to you if the blockage is caused by grease emanating from your food establishment. The city may have you pay to have the problem remedied. Grease build-up in drains and sewer pipes can be very costly for any facility to fix.