Fats, Oils, and Grease Control Program


CVSan's Fat, Oils, and Grease (FOG) control program is required by and developed according to the Waste Discharge Requirements of Regional Water Quality Control Board, to prevent FOG related Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). This program is intended to reduce the amount of FOG that is discharged either directly or indirectly into the public sewer main by Food Service Establishments (FSEs). It is the responsibility of the FSEs to have their grease interceptors and traps adequately sized to effectively remove FOG used/produced at their facility. All such devices should be installed and maintained to ensure compliance with CVSan Code Section 6216 and 6217. As per CVSan Code Section 6217, the FSE must have their grease interceptors and traps cleaned as often as needed to keep them functioning properly or at a minimum every six months.
According to CVSan Code Section 4137, CVSan’s Inspector and other duly authorized employees of CVSan have the authority to conduct inspections of FOG handling and practices at all FSEs within our jurisdiction. You can learn more about CVSan Code by searching the district code. 

Best Management Practices for Food Service Establishments:
CVSan recommends all FSEs to follow Best Management Practices (BMPs) to help prevent or reduce the introduction of FOG into the public sewer mains.

FOG control BMPs for food service establishments are as follows:
  1. Maintenance of Grease Interceptors and Traps: Clean all grease removal devices regularly to prevent grease from discharging into the sewer.  Grease traps and interceptors must be cleaned as often as necessary to keep them functioning properly or at a minimum every six months.  All grease removal devices should be maintained regularly so that the depth of floating grease and settled solids accumulated does not exceed 25% of the hydraulic depth, at any time. Therefore, the working depth consists of more than 75% water for effective FOG separation.
  2. Disposal of Oily Food: Never pour oil, grease, or large quantities of oily liquids such as sauces and salad dressings into sinks, grease interceptors or grease traps. Scrape the oily food remains into an organics bin/cart.
  3. Disposal of Cooking/Fryer Oil: Do not pour yellow grease (used cooking/fryer oil) down the drain or in the trash.  Recycle yellow grease through a licensed grease hauler or recycler. Store recyclable yellow grease in a separate sealed container. Provide secondary containment if placed outside the facility. Make sure that the containers are covered, spill-proof and have no leaks.
  4. Disposal of scraped grease: It is best to compost small amounts of scraped grease (brown grease) from traps and cookware (in a paper milk or ice cream carton). The grease from traps and cookware should not go into the used oil recycling storage bin. Brown grease should not be mixed with yellow grease unless the yellow grease hauler can recycle the entire contents when they are mixed.  Brown grease can only be legally collected and transported by a licensed grease hauler.
  5. Usage of Enzymes and Emulsifiers: Do not use additives, including but not limited to biological or chemical agents, enzymes or surfactants acting as grease emulsifiers, into any grease interceptor or trap, for FOG remediation. Please note that chemicals used for odor control and drain cleaning are not prohibited from use.
  6. Usage of Screens: All drains must have screens, to keep solids out of the sink drains. These screens should be cleaned regularly to prevent kitchen drain blockage.
  7. Usage of Flow Control Devices: Flow control devices are installed at the inlet of indoor grease traps. As these devices aid gravity separation, they should be installed in the inlet at all times. Flow control devices should be cleaned regularly to prevent blockage due to the accumulation of solid particles.
  8. Dry clean-up/Pre-wash: Use rubber scrapers to remove food waste from cookware, serving ware, utensils, and cooking surfaces before cleaning them with water. Paper towels can be used for mild scraping as an alternative to rubber scrapers. Do not use cloth towels for wiping or scraping. Make sure that the scraped grease or food is not dumped into the drain or grease trap. Use food-grade paper to soak up oil grease under fryer baskets. After performing the dry clean-up, begin washing with a hot pre-wash, then a scouring sink with detergent, then use the rinse sink.
  9. Spill Handling: Prevent spillage by emptying containers before they are full and using proper covers while transporting grease containers. In case of a spill, mop the spill with absorbents such as cat litter or paper towel, before washing the spill with water. Train employees to control and clean up spills. Post a notice to employees providing emergency contact numbers for spill clean-up service providers.
  10. Documentation and Training: Train staff on the best management practices of FOG handling and maintain documentation of grease removal device maintenance for at least three years.
FOG is Fats, Oils, and Grease used to aid in the preparation of food or is produced during the preparation of food. FOG affects the sewer system's performance by clogging sewer lines, which causes Sanitary System Overflows (SSOs), causing expensive property damage and health hazards.

Do not pour cooking/fryer oil or grease scraped from cookware down the drain or in the trash.

Single-family residents may place up to three (3) gallons of cooking oil curbside per week, next to the blue recycling cart for collection. Containers that are set out curbside must be labeled “Cooking Oil” and the used cooking oil must be in a screw-top plastic container that is no taller than 12 inches in height. The cooking oil’s original container can be used if it meets these specifications. If using a different container, it must be clean, dry, and must not contain any residue. Please do not reuse motor oil or motor fluid containers for cooking oil.

Cooking oil can also be temporarily collected in a compostable container (paper milk or ice cream carton) and placed in small amounts in your green organics cart/bin. Or, use a metal can and pour the grease directly into your cart (it’s best to pour on top of leaves, grass clippings, or other yard trimmings).

What Kind of Problems Does FOG Cause?
One of the main causes of SSOs is the accumulation of FOG released into the sewer system. Over time, FOG can build up, block entire pipes, and lead to serious problems. Some of the problems that occur are:
  • Raw sewage overflowing into homes, which requires expensive professional cleanup, and often must be paid for by homeowners.
  • Raw sewage overflowing into yards, streets, and parks.
  • Exposure to disease-causing organisms.
  • An increase in operation and maintenance costs for local sewer departments, that can result in higher sewer bills.
If you are a resident and you have a large amount of FOG, please recycle your FOG through a licensed grease hauler or recycler only. Do not dispose of large amounts of FOG at home.
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List of Grease Haulers for Alameda County1 document

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What are Grease Removal Devices (GRDs)?

Does my FSE need a Grease Removal Device?

Does my FSE need a Grease Removal Device, though I do not fry or cook with grease?

Can you recommend a maintenance schedule for Grease Removal Devices?

How do I know that my Grease Removal Device is adequately sized?

Who cleans the Grease Removal Devices?

Who is a Licensed Grease Hauler?

What should I do with yellow grease, like used cooking/fryer oil)?

What should I do with brown grease (grease scraped from traps and cookware)?

How should FSEs stay compliant with the District Codes?