City of Fort Smith, Arkansas

Utility Department

Fat, Oil & Grease

 

What is F.O.G?

  • FOG is a semi-solid viscous byproduct of food preparation. It can be derived from either vegetable or animal sources. Although it can be found in residential kitchens, it is of particular concern in commercial kitchens due to the large volume of fats, oils, and grease used to prepare food on a daily basis.
  • Did you know that FOG contributes to approximately 80% of all dry weather sanitary sewer overflows within the City of Fort Smith?

Why should you be concerned?

  • FOG sticks to the walls of sewer pipes and builds up over time. Eventually, it can block the pipes completely, resulting in sewage backing up into basements, overflowing from manholes or discharging into local streams (SSOs). FOG related overflows can result in property damage, environmental damage, and civil penalties and fines.

What are common sources of FOG?

            Butter                   Mayonnaise

            Cheese                Meats

            Cookies                Pastries

            Gravy                   Salad Dressings

            Ice Cream            Sauces

            Margarine            Used Fryer Oil

            Marinades           Yogurt

            Food Scraps   

 

How does FOG enter the sewer system?

  • The common ways for FOG to get into the sewer system include the following:
    • Washing FOG covered dishes and cookware without first scraping and wiping grease into a trash container.
    • Using garbage disposals to dispose of FOG bearing food particles and scraps.
    • Flushing FOG down the drain with hot water (hot-flushing).

What can i do as a resident to help prevent fog from entering the sewer system?

  • Scrape food waste, dry-wipe pots, pans, and dishes with a paper towel, and dispose of these items directly into the trash before rinsing or washing dishes.
  • Use a can with a plastic liner with some absorbent material inside like paper towels, kitty litter, or coffee grounds to mix with all excess fats, oils, and grease.
  • Once the grease can is full, remove and tightly secure the liner. Place it in the trash along with other absorbent material like paper towels, kitty litter, or coffee grounds.
  • Allowing fats, oils, and grease to cool slightly before being placed into the sealable can(s) can make the process easier.
  • Fats, oils, and grease should never go down the sink or garbage disposal.

 

What can I do as a commercial kitchen to help prevent FOG from entering the sewer system?

  • To reduce the amount of FOG entering the collection system, remember to SCRAPE.
    • Scrape or wipe grease and food scraps into a sealable container or trash bin.
    • Collect liquid cooking oils in an oil rendering tank or oil recycling container.
    • Rotate cleaning schedule among fryers and food preparation devices.
    • Assign clean-up tasks to specific employees
    • Prepare foods with minimal amounts of fats, oil, and grease.
    • Educate your employees on the importance of reducing FOG and following proper FOG Best Management Practices (BMPs).

What about using a garbage grinder, hot water, or detergents to wash FOG down the drain?

  • Garbage disposals grind up grease bearing food particles. However, it does nothing to prevent FOG from entering the sewer system. This leads to a higher incidence of sewer clogs and SSOs.
    • A much safer practice is to simply scrape all remaining food particles and scraps into a trash bin.
  • Hot water will cool down once it enters the sewer system and cause any FOG that had come into contact with the hot water to cool down and coagulate and solidify. This is also called “hot flushing”.
  • Detergents other than typical dishwashing detergents that claim to dissolve FOG may cause blockages to occur further down the sewer system.

Check back for more information coming soon on FOG!