Fats, Oils, & Grease (FOG)

What is FOG?




FOG refers to Fats, Oils and Grease originating in most kitchens, restaurants and food service establishments. As a byproduct of cooking, FOG is usually found in:

  • Cooking Oil / Butter / Margarine / Lard
  • Meats
  • Dairy Products (Milk, Cheeses, Yogurt)
  • Sauces / Gravies / Salad Dressings
  • Deep-fried Dishes (French Fries, Fried Chicken)
  • Baking Goods (Pizza, Cookies, Pastries)
  • Food Scraps

The Problem

FOG clogs sewers and costs sewer customers additional money. Every day, large amounts are illegally washed into sewers mainly from food preparation establishments (usually through kitchen sinks and floor drains) that do not have adequate grease control measures in place. FOG attaches to the inner lining of the private plumbing system on your property, as well as the public sewer system in city streets.

In time, the FOG buildup can constrict flow and eventually block the entire pipe, causing sewage backups and overflows. A sewage overflow will find its way from the street level into the storm drain, which finally leads to the ocean.

The Long Beach Water Department normally addresses this potential hazard by cleaning sewer infrastructure every two years. However, due to heavy FOG build-up, some stretches of our City's infrastructure require maintenance every 90 days instead! These additional treatment results in an additional cost to ALL Long Beach sewer customers of approximately $400,000 a year!

Other Potential Costs and Consequences of FOG

  • Property Damages from sewage backups. You have to pay for expensive cleanup and plumbing repairs.
  • Health Hazards from insect infestation. Backed-up sewage and accumulated food residue are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, insects and other vermin.
  • Monetary Penalties for non-compliance. Most municipalities either presently or plan to pass the cost of clearing blockage, cleanup, and any regulatory fines assessed back to the offending party.
  • Business Closure for health code violation. This could greatly impact your business operation.
  • Increased Sewer Fees from city's excessive maintenance and severe fines from regulatory agencies. FOG blocks sewer pipes, gums up pump stations, and interferes with the normal operation of wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Beach Closures from high bacteria levels in contaminated storm drain flows. Overflowed sewage will contaminate the flow in the storm drain and cause health risk concerns for swimmers and marine life.

How to Keep Fog Out of Sewer System

  • Install a properly sized grease trap/interceptor to handle the anticipated amount of FOG.
  • Properly operate and maintain the grease trap/interceptor. Clean and service the grease traps/interceptors regularly and frequently.
  • Use less oil.
  • Use liquid oil instead of solid grease or lard.
  • Dry wipe or scrape grease and food scraps from dishes, pots, pans, utensils and grills (or other cooking surfaces) into a can or the trash for disposal before putting them in the sink or dishwasher.
  • Do not put grease down garbage disposals. Use baskets or strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Collect and dispose used oil through a licensed grease hauler instead of pouring it into kitchen sinks, floor drains or toilets.
  • Capture the oil accumulated in ventilation and exhaust hoods.
  • Be cautious of those chemicals/additives that claim to dissolve grease, including soaps and detergents. They may pass grease down the pipe and clog the lines in a different area.

Agencies and Their Responsibilities

Long Beach Water Department (City Sewer)

  • Responsible for protecting city property, the local storm drain system, the local sewage collection system, and other public areas.

Long Beach Health and Human Services Department

  • Responsible for protecting public health by closing ocean/bay waters and food service businesses if a spill poses a threat to public health.

Long Beach Public Works Department (City Stormwater)

  • Responsible for stormwater pollution prevention and education.

L.A. County Sanitation Districts (Public Trunk Sewer)

  • Responsible for collecting, treating and disposing of wastewater.

Regional Water Quality Control Board

  • Responsible for protecting State waters. 

More Information

For information on acquiring and installing of grease interceptors, please call the Long Beach Water Department at (562) 570-2381.