Food Service Industry
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Program summary
This formal program has been in effect since May 2007 and WSSC was required to get permits to all the individual food service establishments (FSEs) by December 2010. We were also required to initially inspect every facility by May 2012. “Every” facility means any and all FSEs that have appeared on either County’s Health Department license list since May 2007 regardless of whether they prepare or serve FOG containing food/drink or not. It is up to WSSC to determine if FOG is there. The total number of FSEs that have met this qualification was 9107. WSSC has inspected all of them. An updated health department list for each County is generated for WSSC by July of each year. A new round of initial inspections begins soon thereafter.
The general purpose of the FOG program is to comply with a Federal Consent Decree placed upon WSSC to reduce and eliminate sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s)-the prevention of sewage spills and back-ups. Part of that order was a more aggressive and formalized FOG Control Program. It is estimated that 40-60% of all preventable SSO’s nationwide are FOG-related. The percentage for WSSC was below 30% in 2011.
Additional benefits from a formal FOG Program include prevention of FOG-related interferences and partial to full blockages in the sewer collection system, its pumping stations and the wastewater treatment plants
The FOG Program protects against:
Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO’s)
Costly excessive pipe maintenance
Costly and dangerous sewage pumping station grease build-up
Excessive FOG build-up and treatment capacity at the wastewater plants
By Federal, State and WSSC definition, the type of business known as a “Food Service Establishment” or FSE may be required by Code to have grease abatement systems of various varieties.
Our FOG Discharge permit is your permission to utilize our sewer system for properly treated and/or removed FOG-bearing wastewater from your cooking or food preparation/handling/serving area(s).
Permits are mandated by WSSC Code and a Federal Consent Decree, for which your facility is covered.
The annual discharge fee in 2012, assessed per qualifying FSE, is $350.
There are also “Best Management Practices” or BMP Permits. These are issued to the 40 or so FSEs that, in the opinion of WSSC, have only a potential to discharge a measurable quantity of FOG on a daily basis. These FSEs do not require a grease abatement system but are required to follow a specific set of BMPs.
Other key points include: The potential to discharge FOG-containing wastewater of a measurable quantity is reviewed not only from the food production standpoint, but also the cleaning methods and wastewaters produced from the serving hardware associated with the food.
In other words-one does not need to cook the food at a site in order to produce FOG-containing wastewater.
The applicable parts of this Code with regards to FOG issues for FSEs are in:
- Section 818
- Section 302.10
- Section 814 - parts dealing with grease waste
- Section 804 - prohibitions and limits
By mid-2012 WSSC had about 4,600 active FSEs that possess FOG permits in the two Counties.
When one experiences non-compliance issues, we have several workable solutions within our Enforcement Response Plan