Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) Control
The Industrial Pretreatment Program in Spokane County implements requirements in the Clean Water Act to control pollutants in wastewater from industrial and commercial facilities, before they reach the treatment plant. Pollutants, such as Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG), enter the sanitary sewer through sinks, floor drains, dishwashers, and other fixtures found in commercial businesses that are plumbed to the sanitary sewer. When entering the sanitary sewer, FOG can cause buildup along the walls of the pipes. Without proper pretreatment using grease control devices or oil/water separators, FOG buildup in pipes can interfere with treatment plant operations and can block sewer lines, resulting in a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO). An SSO can occur in homes, in businesses, and in the street, where those overflows create safety hazards that can endanger public health, as well as can negatively affect the environment.
The US EPA has identified FOG as a concern and requires agencies with Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) to develop and administer a FOG Control Program. According to the EPA, grease from restaurants, homes, and industrial sources account for approximately 47% of all sanitary sewer blockages.
Spokane County Pretreatment Ordinance article 8.03A. 0201B.19 prohibits FOG in quantities which could cause obstruction of the Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), interference with conveyance, or treatment. Spokane County regulates the discharge of both polar FOG and non-polar FOG through pretreatment devices. Grease control devices and oil-water separators capture and limit the amounts of FOG that enter the sanitary sewer. Spokane County Sanitary Sewer Code 8.03.5020 requires any commercial facility that generates grease to have a grease control device. Additionally, Spokane County Sanitary Sewer Code 8.03.5040 requires that any commercial facility that discharges petroleum and/or settable granular particles to include an oil/water separator and sand trap.
Types of FOG
- Non-polar FOG comes from petroleum or is of mineral origin. An example of non-polar FOG is vehicle oil mixed with wash water from an automated car wash that discharges to the sanitary sewer.
- Polar FOG comes from vegetables or animals. Polar FOG can be found in kitchen sink wash water from a food service establishment (FSE) that discharges to the sanitary sewer.
FOG Control Program
- Minimize and prevent FOG related sewer blockage, obstructions, and interference into the sanitary sewer system from grease producing commercial businesses and Food Service Establishments (FSE) through the usage of grease control devices and oil-water separators.
- Provide educational handouts on proper pretreatment device maintenance and FOG program requirements to FSEs and other grease producing commercial businesses per Spokane County Sanitary Sewer Code 8.03.5080.
- Inspect grease producing businesses and FSEs to verify proper pretreatment device operation, maintenance, and recordkeeping.
- Speak with staff on proper cleaning practices, provide FSEs and commercial businesses with Best Management Practices (BMPs).
- Enforcement for uncorrected, repeated, and serious FOG violations, with potential to issue fines.
Grease Pumpers and Haulers
The following grease pumpers and haulers have participated in a training which covered ordinance conditions for grease control device maintenance and documentation. This list is provided as a courtesy and is not a complete list of all the suppliers for this type of service. The responsibility is on the business who is hiring any of these companies to verify their qualifications and references, as well as their compliance with regulations on handling and transporting wastes. In no way does Spokane County endorses these companies or their quality of work.