Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) can be a major problem for San Francisco's sewers. When poured down the drain, FOG hardens inside sewer pipes, constricting wastewater flow and clogging the pipes. This can lead to sewer overflows onto City streets - costing us all a lot of money: over $3.5 million each year to clear grease-clogged pipes. Restaurants and other food service establishments are a significant source of FOG because of the amount of grease they use in cooking and other food preparation work. The FOG Control Ordinance
, adopted in February 2011, is intended to prevent FOG (from restaurants and FSEs) from entering the sewer system.
The FOG Control Ordinance requires San Francisco restaurants and other food service establishments that cook food, and therefore have grease in their wastewater discharges, to install grease capturing equipment (i.e. traps or interceptors). The FOG Control Ordinance provides clear guidelines on exactly what type of grease capturing equipment restaurants must install and includes standards to ensure that the equipment is well maintained and serviced.
To help restaurants comply with the FOG Control Ordinance, Wastewater Inspectors began making visits in 2011. Inspectors assign each food service establishment a FOG Discharger Category number (1, 2 or 3) that reflects their potential to discharge grease to the sewer system, and notify the establishment of their compliance requirements. Establishments can use this FOG Discharger Checklist to determine their FOG Discharger Category, and then refer to the factsheets below to find out their compliance requirements.
The General Wastewater Discharge Permit gave existing establishments until April 1, 2012 (one year from the effective date of the ordinance) to install the required equipment. However, existing establishments can delay the installation of grease capturing equipment until they are visited by an inspector and issued a notification of the equipment installation requirements. Some establishments were required to install equipment prior to April 1, 2012, including new or converted establishments, existing establishments that caused sewer blockages, or those that undergo changes of ownership, remodeling, or renovations. See the General Wastewater Discharge Permit for details.
If your restaurant is required to install a grease removal device, there are loan/lease options to help reduce costs. See these factsheets for more information: English, Chinese, Spanish.
*** After you install grease capturing equipment, download and fill out this Installation Verification Form to receive a 14.2% reduction on the sewer service charge portion of your water/sewer bill.
Need More Information?
If you have questions, please contact us at FOGOrdinance@sfwater.org or (415) 695-7310.