Fats, Oils and Grease
What is it – and why is it bad to put this down the drain of your home or business?
What is FOG? – FOG stands for Fats, Oils, and Grease. Did you know that pouring fats, oils, and grease down the drain or garbage disposal creates obstructions in underground pipes and creates serious problems like blockages and sewer overflows? In fact, FOG is one of the leading causes of sewer overflows and blockages in the United States.
When washed down the sink, fats, oils and grease stick to the insides of your sewer pipes (both on your property and in the streets). Over time, grease buildup will clog an entire pipeline, causing sewer overflows in your home and neighborhood. The damage from overflows could cost you thousands of dollars!
To illustrate what results from not preventing fats, oil, and grease going down the drain, we have provided the images below. It shows to how sewers will eventually clog, overflowing into the streets, a persons home, or place of business.
For Homeowners – Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent sewer overflows:
- Do not pour cooking oil, greasy food, dairy products, or salad dressing down the drain.
- Use strainers in the sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids.
- Do not use hot water and soap to try to wash grease down the drain. It will eventually cool and harden in your sewer lateral or municipal sewer line.
- Pour cooled grease into a disposable container, cover with a tight fitting lid. If desired, place container in the freezer to help the grease, then toss the sealed container in the garbage.
- Mix cooking oils with absorbent material such as coffee grounds or cat litter. Place in tight lidded container and dispose of it in garbage.
- Wipe or scrape food particles from pots, pans and dishes into the trash can prior to placing them in the sink for washing.
- Wipe excess fats and grease from pans with a dry paper towel and toss it in the garbage.
Additional Resources for Homeowners:
If you are a Vacaville or Dixon resident, with proof of residency, you can take your kitchen grease or waste cooking oil to the Recology hazardous waste disposal area, at 855 1/2 Davis St. It is open most Saturdays from 9AM to 3PM, except select Holidays, and during Fiesta Days.
This video provides a good demonstration of what happens when FOG is allowed down the drain. However, please note that just because you have cleared your home drains with their vinegar solution, doesn't mean that it won't cause a problem for the City's sewer system.
If you would like to read an article about this world wide issue, you can read this article by the Business Insider.
For Food Service Establishments - Here are some tips for helping prevent sewer overflows and information about what we look for in our inspections
To help prevent sanitary sewer overflows (SSO's), cities are required to inspect food service establishments. As part of those preventative efforts, Vacaville is inspecting all food service establishments (FSE's), no matter what they serve, to ensure that we are working together to prevent SSO's. This is because, aside from serving food, FSE's have the added concerns of grease removal device cleanings, waste oil collections, and employee training's. Due to the increased volume, FOG can be a concern
As part of the cooperative effort, we have put together some training information and other documentation. To help FSE's and their employees know what their responsibilities are, we provide a Best Management Pratices Guide.
Also, as a general inspection practice we check for the following main concerns:
- Training Records: all employees that handle dishes or dispose of FOG must be trained. Records must be kept for a minimum of three years, for active employees. We would need to see the employee name, the date of the training and the signature of the employee.
- Grease Interceptor or Grease Trap service records or manifests: We will be looking to see that they are serviced quarterly, at a minimum, and that records are being kept for a minimum of three years. We also check that the traps and interceptors do not exceed 25% filled with grease or solids, both of which limit the devices ability to function properly.
- Waste Oil Collection records: Because each establishment is different, we will simply be looking to make sure documentation is being maintained. If the waste oil collection company does not send a notice of collection, you must call them to obtain the desired information.
- How long to keep records: For all of those concerns, copies of records must be on site and readily available, to help us reduce the amount time we spend at your location to allow you to get back to what you want to do, run your business. Also, all those copies of records mentioned above, must be kept for a minimum of 3 years.
- Pollution Prevention: We will also be looking at the path to the dumpster, the tallow bin, and at parking lot areas for spilled oil tracks and trash, to prevent pollution of our creeks and waterways. Any debris in the vicinity of the FSE, any spilled oil, or any leaking containers are the responsibility of all those who use them, not just of the property management company.
If you feel that your establishment does not need to service your grease removal device at the minimum of once a quarter, and are willing to take upon yourself the liability of any damages that may occur as a result of the reduced frequency, you must submit a variance request form for approval.
Here is a link to the Variance Request form.
To submit a copy of the form, you may send it to our central email.
Or to the City of Vacaville, Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant, Attn: Source Control, PO Box 220, Elmira, CA 95625
Resources for Food Service Establishments
An employee training video was produced in the Carolinas, and covers the training all employees should receive.
A brief video to give a general idea of the training was produced by National Restaurant Association.
To get an Idea of what we will be looking for during the inspection you can look to this video produced by Union City.
Handouts in various languages
- The Right Way and Wrong Way to Dispose of Oil: Is and Image English and Spanish
- For Trash Enclosures: English, Spanish, and Vietnamese
- How to clean a Grease Trap Poster: English, Spanish, and Vietnamese
- English: Hand Out, Poster
- Hindi: Hand Out, Poster
- Punjabi: Hand Out, Poster
- Chinese Simplified: Hand Out, Poster
- Chinese Traditional: Hand Out, Poster
- Korean: Hand Out
- Russian: Hand Out
If you are looking for a state approved Grease Transporter visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture page