NYC Launches Initiative To Reduce Grease Discharges To Sewer System

Fats, oil and grease (FOG) found in food ingredients can build up in sewer systems and constrict flow, causing sewer back-ups and interfere with sewage treatment processes.  According to the federal EPA, 40% of sewer backups are caused by grease clogging the sewers

Many buildings in NYC have executive dining rooms, employee cafeterias and restaurants that can discharge FOG to the municipal sewer system. To minimize the volume of FOG that enters the sewer system, the New York City Building Code and Sewer Use Regulations require installation and maintenance of grease interceptors. The NYCDEP routinely sends inspectors to businesses to ensure that interceptors are correctly sized, properly installed, maintained, and operating effectively. If a business has an interceptor that is too small, the owner or operator will be ordered to install the proper unit. Penalties for non-compliance can range up to $10,000 per day per violation.

In addition to its compliance inspection program, the NYCDEP has launched a number of outreach programs to improve compliance with the FOG rules. The Commercial FOG Program assists restaurants and other Food Service Establishments (FSEs) to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to properly handle and reduce the amount of FOG discharged to the municipal sewer system. In addition to restaurants, the agency is also working with operators of nursing homes, fruit and vegetable stands and even laundries, and dry cleaners to keep grease and other materials and chemicals out of the sewer system.

The NYCDEP also launched a Residential Grease Compliance program. The agency has been reaching out to large co-op boards and condominium associations to help educate residents and owners on how to reduce FOG discharges.

For more information about the NYCDEP grease programs, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/wastewater/grease.shtml