FOG Materials and Associated Costs

When FOG materials (lard, meat fats, shortening, butter and margarine, cooking oil, baked goods, sauces, dairy products, food scraps, etc.) are directly/indirectly discharged via kitchen draining sinks, these materials accumulate and cause blockages in private sewer lateral lines and Stamford WPCA's sanitary collection and conveyance system. These sources originate from restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels, food processing facilities, and residential communities, i.e., neighborhood homes, condominiums, apartment complexes. 
Accumulation of FOG materials in private lateral pipes and sanitary sewer lines can result in sewer backups, overflows, and odor problems for indoor and/or outdoor environments. Additionally, these materials affect WPCA's wastewater treatment processes by reducing the efficiency of mechanical and biological operations. Ultimately, accumulation of FOG materials within sanitary sewer lines increases the cost of operating, maintaining, and treating wastewater processes. Additionally, accidental sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) spills require cleaning, repairing, and/or rebuilding of damaged properties, again increasing costs. 

How Can Residential Sewer Users Help Limit/Eliminate FOG Material Discharges? 

1. Install sink drain baskets/strainers to collect residual food materials. Empty contents into garbage, not down the drain. 
2. Avoid using garbage disposal systems for foods containing FOG materials. 
3. Residual food waste on cooled cookware and/or dishes should be scraped and wiped with a paper towel and disposed of properly (in the garbage), before being rinsed and washed in kitchen sinks/dishwashers. 
4. Grease left over from cooking and/or frying activities should be allowed to cool before being poured into a container with a proper cover for temporary storage. Taking appropriate precautions, the container can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer until full and then disposed of in the household garbage. 
5. Liquid cooking oil should be cooled and poured into a container that has a proper cover, and brought to Stamford's Katrina Mygatt Recycling Center, 130 Magee Avenue (Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Sat. 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.). 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Isn't throwing containers full of grease into the solid waste recycling center just creating a different problem? 
Non-renderable FOG materials (contaminated brown grease) should be collected in a separate container that has a proper cover for disposal. FOG materials cause greater environmental problems throughout the wastewater collection, conveyance, and treatment system compared with proper source collection and disposal activities. 
What constitutes a "proper cover" for grease storage? 
A proper cover securely fits and seals the grease storage container to prevent spillage and release of odors. 
What should I do with large quantities of cooking oil? 
Renderable FOG materials (uncontaminated yellow grease) should be collected in a separate container that has a proper cover for recycling. Stamford's Katrina Mygatt Recycling Center receives and recycles renderable FOG materials. 
What about restaurants, bakeries, schools, hospitals. What do they do with the large amounts of fat and oil they use? 
Stamford WPCA began actively administrating the City's FOG Abatement Program in 2010 for all Class III and IV food preparation establishments (FPEs). More than 400 FPEs have registered, and have received an overview of the FOG abatement program. Additionally, FPEs received instruction on the minimum inspection and maintenance requirements for FOG removal systems, i.e., grease traps/interceptors, and expectations to implement storm water pollution prevention measures and spill containment and response procedures to prevent refuse and/or FOG materials associated with FPE activities from entering the city's storm water conveyance system via entrance into parking lot catch basins and/or overland sheet flow into nearby catch basins or waterways. 
Why is the Stamford WPCA investing their resources in this program? 
A capacity, management, operation, and maintenance (CMOM) program is being implemented as part of Stamford WPCA's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. This program is designed to ensure sanitary sewer collection, conveyance, and treatment of wastewaters received from the City and portions of the Town of Darien are properly operated and maintained to achieve permit compliance. FOG abatement is one component of this CMOM program. FOG materials collecting within the City's sanitary collection and/or treatment system can result in a SSO and adversely affect indoor/outdoor environmental conditions, increase maintenance and repair costs of collection system, and wastewater treatment processes, i.e., damage treatment equipment, reduce biological treatment processes, etc. Preventing these materials/contaminants from entering the system is more cost effective compared with wastewater treatment removal processes. 
Why should the residential community be responsible for preserving our local environment? Isn't this Stamford WPCA's responsibility? 
Environmental responsibility is shared among citizens, businesses, and all levels of government. Although Stamford WPCA's FOG abatement program is focused on Class III and IV FPEs, program fundamentals are being introduced to residential communities via multi-media outlets and/or education programs to help limit these materials from entering the sanitary sewer system. The residential community has already demonstrated responsiveness to the City's solid waste recycling program, and introduction of this Community Wide FOG Abatement Program will help reduce SSOs from discharging into residential living areas and/or the outdoor environment. 
Once Stamford WPCA starts to treat the wastewater won't the FOG Materials issues be resolved? 
No. Many problems can occur prior to wastewater even reaching the Stamford WPCA's wastewater treatment facility. Often times, FOG materials clog up pipes in the private lateral and City's sanitary sewer line before reaching the wastewater treatment facility. When FOG materials reach the wastewater treatment facility, only partial treatment occurs. A majority of these accumulated materials are removed through an expensive removal and treatment process. FOG material source reduction/elimination by all dischargers to the City's sanitary sewer system is the most cost effective way to solve this problem. 

Commercial Food Preparation Establishment (FPE) Abatement Program

The City of Stamford's fats, oil, and grease (FOG) abatement program applies to all Class III and Class IV food preparation establishments (FPEs). These FPEs must ensure all owners/operators/personnel comply with the City's FOG abatement Ordinance and the CT DEEP's (formerly CT DEP) General Permit for the Discharge of Wastewater Associated with FPEs by preventing FOG materials from being discharged into the City's sanitary sewer line. 
All Class III and Class IV FPEs must complete an application and register with the Stamford WPCA. The FOG abatement program is focused on preventing fats, oils, and grease from entering our City's main sanitary sewer system via training personnel to implement good housekeeping practices in the various food preparation areas, i.e., discharge food waste into garbage, use paper towels to remove FOG residue from cooled pots/pans before washing, and complete regular inspections and maintenance of grease removing devices, i.e., grease traps, grease interceptors. Additionally, stormwater pollution prevention measures must be implemented to prevent refuse or FOG materials associated with your FPE from entering our stormwater conveyance system via entrance of parking lot catch basins and/or overland sheet flow into nearby catchbasins or waterways. Lids on outdoor dumpsters and oil recycling bins must be closed at all times to prevent rodents, insects, and precipitation from coming into contact with these materials. Also, personnel should be familiar with how to contain and clean-up potentially spilled materials, i.e., cooking oil.
As part of the program administrated by the Stamford WPCA, all FPEs must inspect and clean their grease trap units at least once per week (not monthly), and record these cleaning activities on the grease trap monitoring and cleaning log sheets. Depending on level/type of food preparation activities, more frequent inspections and cleaning activities may be required. Floatable, side-wall and baffle build-up grease laden material, along with any settable solid materials in the unit should be removed regularly, to prevent these materials from being discharged into the City's sanitary sewer line. Similarly, outdoor grease interceptors must be inspected once per month and cleaned, as needed (minimally, once per quarter) and records of these monthly inspections and cleaning activities must be recorded on the grease interceptor monitoring and cleaning log sheet.
During future spot inspections, our/WPCA department and/or other agencies, i.e., CT DEEP, City Health Department officials, will request copies of these monitoring and cleaning log sheets, and ask for these FOG removing units to be open for visual inspection to determine the level of your FPE in complying with the City's FOG abatement program, as well as, inspecting outdoor storage facilities to ensure these units are maintained properly to prevent stormwater pollution.
Please note: For any discharge of FOG materials resulting in levels exceeding mg/l, a sanitary sewer blockage, and/or sewer back-ups in the City of Stamford's sanitary sewer line and/or nearby homes/businesses, the owners and/operators of the FPE will be subject to local, state, or federal fines and penalties associated with this FOG abatement program.