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What to do about Fats, Oils, and Grease

Managing Fats, Oils, and Grease in Wastewater

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. DeKalb County codes also require the installation of FOG Interceptors in all FSEs.

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.

Storm Water Concerns -- Outdoor grease storage containers can affect storm water. Containers must be covered so that rain does not enter the tank and overflow. Keep hinged and free lids on the containers closed except when filling. Spills should be cleaned with absorbent clay, and never washed down a storm drain. Areas around storage containers should never be cleaned with hoses or pressure washers unless all of the wastewater is contained and disposed of properly. Greases should never be poured into storm drains. If storage tanks require cleaning, they should never be cleaned outside and allowed to drain into storm drains or to contaminate soil or paved surfaces. It is a good idea to place used oil storage containers in curbed areas so that major spills are contained and flowing stormwater is diverted away.