City of Bonney Lake
Fats, Oils & Grease Program
Tips for Residents
Tips for Food Establishments
What is FOG?
Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) come from meats, butters, lard, food scraps, sauces, salad dressings, dairy products and cooking oil. When FOG goes down the drain, it hardens and causes sewer pipes to clog. This can lead to a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) where raw sewage actually backs up into your home, lawn, neighborhood and streets. Not only does this nasty mess cause health issues, it also can run into a nearby stream or river.
If your pipes become clogged from putting FOG down the drain, it can be a very expensive problem to fix. To avoid household or environmental damage, as well as a costly bill, NEVER put FOG down the drain.
How is the City involved?
The City of Bonney Lake has a FOG ordinance to reduce blockages and maintenance in the sewer system. Any commercial establishment that serves or prepares food, within the city limits, where FOG may be introduced to the sanitary sewer system, shall abide by the Bonney Lake Municipal Code (BLMC) 13.12.320 FOG Prevention Requirements.
In conjunction with the ordinance, the establishments also are urged to implement and maintain best management practices (BMPs), as well as the need to submit and adhere to a FOG control program. The purpose of this program is to reduce SSO and obstructions caused by FOG entering the sewer system, and also to educate the public and food service establishments on how to reduce FOG to maintain compliance with the ordinance.
The City of Bonney Lake conducts inspections of grease interceptors and grease traps on both a scheduled and unscheduled basis to determine whether the requirements set forth are being met. These inspections may happen anytime during business hours. A typical inspection includes:
- If an interceptor is present and in a public area, cone off to ensure employee and public safety.
- Removal of interceptor lids, checking influent and effluent baffles and recording findings. This is done using a Sludge Judge (SJ), a device which measures the amounts of scum (grease), clear layer and sludge (solid) levels.
- This measuring process is completed three times in different locations within the compartment to establish an average.
- To be in compliance with the BLMC 13.12.320, the combination of sludge and scum must be less than 25% of the volume of the last compartment in the interceptor or grease trap.
What can I do as a resident to prevent FOG?
Fats, oil and grease don’t belong in your home’s plumbing either. These products can cause bigger problems if they get into the City system. FOG gets into sewer pipes from dishwashers, garbage disposals, washing pots and pans and from being poured directly down the sink.
Rinsing fats down the drain with hot water and detergent doesn’t really work. The grease just moves a little farther down the pipe where it cools and coats the inside of your plumbing resulting in clogged sinks or blockage of your line to the main.
You can avoid expensive plumbing mistakes by disposing of FOG the proper way:
- Remove fats, oils and grease from dishes and pans by wiping with a paper towel into the garbage before washing with water.
- Let grease and cooking oil cool, then pour into a sealable container and place in the garbage. (Hint: freezing will make it mostly solid.)
- Use the garbage disposal as little as possible. Instead, place a strainer over the sink drain to catch solids and empty into the trash as needed.
- Avoid flushing wipes, wrappers and other garbage items into toilets. These products do not dissolve and combine with grease in the sewers to clog pipes.
- If your plans include using a hot oil poultry fryer, the grease needs to be disposed of after cooking. Pierce County residents can dispose of used cooking oil free of charge at the City’s hazardous waste centers.
- Area Hazardous Waste Centers:
Restaurant and other Food & Beverage Establishments
If you prep or wash food and beverage dishes, you are considered a Food Establishment.
- Make sure you have the proper size and type of grease trap or interceptor, and that it is installed properly. Check with the City if you are unsure.
- Clean the traps, interceptors and separators frequently enough to prevent FOG from passing through into the sewer system. The City code requires grease traps and interceptors to be properly operating at all times.
- Do not use additives of any kind in grease traps or interceptors. They are not designed to work with additives despite marketing claims and many of these products are not within code and can cost you extra money.
- Use a reputable pumping company to clean your traps and interceptors.
- Do not use garbage disposals for any items with FOG. Plumbing garbage disposals to a grease trap or interceptor is prohibited by the uniform plumbing code. Scrape food waste into the garbage. Dry wipe pots and pans before washing.
- Post “No Grease” signs above sinks to remind employees.
- Clean vent hoods and filters regularly.
- Recycle used oil.
- Use lower temperature water. Water above 140°F dissolves grease and allows it to pass through into the sewer system where it cools and solidifies. Using a three sink, (wash, rinse, bleach) system allows the use of lower temperature water.
- Make sure outside waste storage areas are covered and away from storm drains. Dumpsters should have water tight covers if exposed to the elements.
- Do not discharge solvents, acids or emulsifying agents into the sewer system.
Public Works Administrative Assistant
Public Works Sewer Crew Lead