City Considers 'Fats, Oils and Grease Control' Ordinance

Businesses could soon be held financially responsible for sewer back-ups and overflows and spills of 'FOG' materials.

The City of Redwood City is considering adoption of an ordinance to implement a "Fats, Oils, and Grease Control Program."

In a statement sent out Monday, City spokesperson Malcolm Smith said the dumping of such materials is leading to blocked sewers and sewer overflows.

The statement said, if adopted by the City Council, restaurants and other food service establishments would be prohibited from discharging FOGs into the sewer system, and would be required to install "grease interceptors" within two years of the effective date of the ordinance.

The City Council will be considering adoption of the new regulations at a meeting in early 2013.

In advance of that, to help restaurants and food service establishments learn more about the proposed ordinance, the City will hold an informational workshop for those businesses which may be affected. The workshop is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 at 2 p.m. in the Public Works Services building at 1400 Broadway.

Business owners wishing to attend should RSVP to 650-780-7464 or tkyaw@redwoodcity.org. Invitations have been sent directly to affected businesses in Redwood City.

The State of California requires cities to have a Sewer System Management Plan, including a FOG Control Program. Therefore, cities are held responsible for sewer spills and overflows within their boundaries.

If adopted, the new regulations will require property owners causing a sewer spill or overflow to reimburse the City for any costs of clean-up, remediation, and fines or penalties incurred by the City as a result.

Installing a grease interceptor can be costly and can require a large amount of space. Therefore, the ordinance will allow restaurants to apply for an exemption if their facility produces only a minimal amount of FOGs, or if installation of a grease interceptor is infeasible due to severe site constraints.

What do you think of the proposed new ordinance, and the fact that businesses will be held financially responsible for spills, back-ups and overflows? Tell us in the comments below. 


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Barb Valley November 28, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Sounds good to me!
Buck Shaw November 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I thought most FOG's were purchased from business for conversion into Diesel Fuel. What happened to the Mercedes going down the road smelling like French Fries? Or now maybe the interceptors will make it more practicable. Oh by the way RWC don't forget to charge a large permit fee for the new FOG coversion businesses you will now create.
Jennifer van der Kleut November 28, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Buck - it is my impression that the purchasing of FOGs for conversion still happens, but not enough to rid the city of all of it before it goes down the draining, causing the blockages and back-ups..
Michael Craig November 28, 2012 at 06:38 PM
There are companies that actually Pay to remove the FOG's from your restaurant or business. Maybe the City could set up a Resources List of Vendors on their website so business's can learn how to and set it up-to be compliant.
TGD November 28, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The issue is not the bulk FOG's but the residuals disposed of through simple dishwashing and general cleaning that ends up going into the sewer system. Bulk waste is usually disposed of through environmentally sound methods. It is the residual buildup of these substances in the sewer system that cause problems. A system to contain these runoff FOG's usually consists of installing an underground unit that can be the size of a automobile and I imagine cost 10's of thousands of dollars to impliment. This cost could be absorbed by larger establishments or a chain restaurant, but it could be restrictive to a small operation or landlord to comply.


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