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Fats, Oil, and Grease Control

LA Sanitation (LASAN) is responsible for maintaining the City's sewer system and clearing blockages. Blockages can cause sewage to overflow into the environment.

Fats, oils and grease (FOG) build up in the sewer lines and restrict flow, causing blockages. The FOG also interferes with the operation of sewage pumping stations resulting in increased maintenance costs.

In order to prevent sewage overflows into the environment, LASAN has developed a comprehensive program to reduce the discharge of FOG to the sewer system. This program includes:
  • Regulatory control of food service establishments (FSEs)
  • Public outreach to residences
  • Improved preventive maintenance

The FOG Control Program requirements are specified in the Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 64.30 and the Board of Public Works' Rules and Regulations Governing Disposal of Industrial Wastewater into Publicly Owned Treatment Works of the City.


FSEs may obtain a permit by submitting an Industrial Wastewater for FSEs permit application along with the application fee.  For new FSEs, the Restaurant and Hospitality Express Program makes the permitting and inspection process more efficient to help you open on time and on budget. Please consult the Restaurant and Hospitaility Express Bulletin from the publication web page.

SUMMARY OF THE FOG CONTROL ORDINANCE

Shown below is a summary of sections from the Industrial Waste Control Ordinance and the Board of Public Works' Rules and Regulations pertaining to FOG Control Program.
  • All food service establishments that discharge grease will be required to obtain an industrial wastewater permit. A one-time $510.00* application fee and annual $350.00* inspection and control fee will be assessed to the FSE.
  • All food service establishments will be required to use best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the grease discharged to the sewer system.
  • The use of garbage grinders in food service establishments is prohibited, unless specifically allowed.
  • Any FSE that is known to cause grease-related sewage spills or fails to implement BMPs will be required to install a grease interceptor or a grease trap.
  • All new construction of FSEs must include the installation of a grease interceptor.
  • All existing FSEs planning a remodel valued at $100,000.00 or more will be required to include the installation of a grease interceptor.
  • Exemptions, conditional waivers or variances will be available to the FSEs that do not generate grease or have very limited space in their property such that installation of a grease interceptor is unfeasible.

*These fees are current as of July 1st, 2017, and valid until June 30, 2018. They are subject to yearly adjustments on July 1st of each year.
IWMD pretreatment program fog ordinance photo

WHAT ARE BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES?

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a series of activities that effectively manage and control disposal of FOG generated waste from the operation of FSEs. For the FOG Control Program, BMPs are "clean kitchen" practices. BMPs focus on:
  • Good housekeeping measures
  • Operation management techniques
  • Spill control
  • Proper waste disposal
  • Recycling

BMPs minimize the amount of FOG that enters the sewer system. Implementation of BMPs will help FSEs achieve compliance with environmental and regulatory standards. In the publications section there is a comprehensive guide to BMPs for FOG control.
IWMD pretreatment program fog control BMPs

FAQs


Q: What is an FSE?
A: An FSE or "Food Service Establishment" is any facility engaged in preparing food for consumption by the public such as, but not limited to, restaurants, commercial kitchens, caterers, hotels, bakeries, donut shops, public and private schools, hospitals, prisons, correctional facilities, and care institutions.

Q: What is FOG?
A: FOG is a combination of fats, oils, and grease used in food processing and the preparation of meals. FOG bearing materials include:
  • Cooking oil
  • Fat
  • Lard
  • Grease
  • Butter
  • Tallow
  • Shortening
  • Margarine
  • Meat
  • Sauces
  • Cookies and pastries

Q: Why is FOG a problem?
A: Waste FOG accumulates in the sewer system causing obstruction or blockage of the sewer pipe, ultimately resulting in a sewer overflow. FOG also accumulates in pump station wet wells and primary settling tanks causing a decrease in capacities and an increase maintenance requirements.

Q: What is being done to address the FOG problem?
A: The City has implemented a three-prong approach to address FOG accumulation.
  • Prong 1 - Regulation of Food Service Establishments (FSEs)
  • Prong 2 - Residential outreach
  • Prong 3 - An aggressive sewer-cleaning program
Q: When is waste FOG generated?
A: Waste FOG is generated when the FSE engages in one or more of the following or similar food preparation practices:
  • Using equipment such as a deep fryer, grill, stir-fryer (wok), ovens/stoves/ranges, barbecue, rotisserie, or other similar cooking devices
  • Using cooking materials such as oil, fats, lard, grease, butter, tallow, shortening, or margarine, or food sources such as beef, poultry, pork, seafood, or other similar products.
Q: How does the City regulate FSEs?
A: On August 5, 2001 the City passed the FOG Ordinance, which amended Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 64.30 and established the regulations and requirements affecting FSEs.

Q: What are the basic requirements of the FOG ordinance?
A: The FOG ordinance establishes the following basic requirements:
  • Any FSE that generates waste FOG is required to obtain an Industrial Wastewater Permit
  • Each FSE is subject to a one-time $510 Industrial Wastewater Permit Application Fee and an annual Inspection & Control Fee
  • Each FSE is required to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce the amount of waste FOG discharged into sewer system from the facility
  • Certain FSEs are required to install a Grease Interceptor
Q: How does a change of ownership affect an FSE's Permit?
A: An Industrial Wastewater Permit is non-transferable; therefore the new owner/operator is required to obtain a new Industrial Wastewater Permit.

Q: How do I obtain an Industrial Wastewater Permit?
A: To obtain a Permit the new FSE owner/operator must receive a "plan check clearance" from the LA Sanitation's Industrial Waste Management Division (IWMD). The new FSE owner/operator must also implement and demonstrate compliance with Best Management Practices (BMP) requirements as specified in the Board of Public Works' Rules and Regulations. To receive a "plan check clearance" and to apply for a Permit, please call IWMD for an appointment or to obtain more information regarding BMPs at (323)342-6118.

Q: What is a grease interceptor?
A: A Grease interceptor (GI) is a plumbing device with a minimum size of 750 gallons that is installed in a wastewater drainage system to intercept and prevent FOG from entering the sanitary sewer system.

Q: When is a grease interceptor required?
A: The City of Los Angeles requires that a GI be installed at the following FSEs:
  • A newly constructed FSE
  • An existing non-FSE facility that is converted to an FSE (change of use)
  • An existing FSE with a remodeling cost of $100,000 or greater
  • Any FSE, as deemed necessary by the Director of LA Sanitation
Q: How much does GI installation cost?
A: For the minimum 750-gallon unit, the GI installation cost is approximately $20,000.

Q: What is a newly constructed FSE?
A: A newly constructed FSE is an FSE that was constructed after August 5, 2001. Any existing non-FSE facility that is converted to an FSE (change-of-use) is also considered a newly constructed FSE.

Q: What are Best Management Practices (BMP)?
A: Best Management Practices are activities performed by the FSE that prevent the discharge of waste FOG to the sewer system. All FSEs are subject to the BMPs specified in the Board of Public Works' Rules and Regulations. More information regarding BMP requirements is available by calling the City at (323) 342-6118.

Q: What is a Conditional Waiver (CW)?
A: A CW is a signed agreement between the City and an existing FSE, granting the FSE a waiver from grease interceptor installation requirements, provided that the FSE complies with the Terms and Conditions of the Conditional Waiver.

Q: When did the CW program begin?
A: The City began receiving CW applications on March 1, 2006.

Q: Who is eligible for a CW?
A: Existing FSEs.

Q: What is an Existing FSE?
A: All FSEs in operation on or before August 5, 2001 are considered existing FSEs.

Q: How can I obtain a CW?
A: If you are an existing food service establishment (FSE), Environmental Compliance inspectors will visit your facility with a CW application. After the terms and conditions of the CW application are explained, an authorized representative from your establishment has the option to then sign the CW application and return it to the inspector or sign and mail it back to IWMD.

Q: Who is considered an authorized FSE representative?
A: The FSE's owner, operator, manager, or anyone listed as a corporate officer.

Q: What happens if an existing FSE does not apply for a CW?
A: The FSE will be required to install a grease interceptor (GI).

Q: What are the terms and conditions of a Conditional Waiver?
A: An FSE is required to comply with the following terms and conditions:
  • The FSE must "Dry Wipe" all pots, pans, dishware and work areas prior to washing of such utensils, equipment or areas.
  • The FSE must dispose of all food waste directly into the trash or garbage receptacles and not into sinks
  • The FSE must collect waste cooking oil and store it properly in recycling barrels or drums
  • The FSE must comply with any other condition deemed appropriate by the Director of LA Sanitation
  • The FSE must not be found to have contributed to a FOG accumulation in the sewer collection system that results, or threatens to result, in a sewer sanitary overflow (SSO)
Q: What happens if the FSE violates these terms and conditions?
A: The Conditional Waiver will be revoked and the FSE will be required to install a grease inteceptor.

Q: What happens if an existing FSE is required but fails to install a GI?
A: City code requires that enforcement action be initiated leading to referral to the City Attorney for prosecution.

Q: How much does a CW cost?
A: There is no charge to apply for a CW.

Q: Where can I obtain more information?
A: More information is available by calling the Industrial Waste Management Division at (323)342-6118.
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