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    Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) Program for Food Service and Business

    Montgomery County Environmental Services maintains proactive, cooperative relationships with local restaurants to keep Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) out of the sewer system and prevent spills.

    Why is Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) a problem in the sanitary sewer system?

    • Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) clog the sewer lines.  Sewage backups and overflows can be the result of grease buildup that can cause property damage, environmental problems, and other health hazards.
    • FOG gets into the sewers mainly from commercial food preparation establishments that do not have adequate grease control measures in place, such as grease interceptors. 
    • All too often, fats, oils, and grease are washed into the plumbing system, usually through kitchen sinks and floor drains found in food preparation areas.  They stick to the inside of sewer pipes both on your property and in the sewer pipes.  Over time, FOG builds up and eventually blocks the entire pipe, causing sewage backups and overflows.

    Why should I care about Fat, Oil, and Grease in the sewer system?

    • Impact on your business: As your sewer pipes back up, the sewage and food particles that accumulate can attract insects and other vermin, cause unpleasant odors, and could create health hazards. Property damage can also result from sewage backups and lead to expensive cleanup and plumbing repairs. Health code violations or closures can greatly impact your business.
      Impact on the Environment: Clogged sewers can lead to overflows. As sewage overflows onto streets, it enters the storm drain system and is carried to our local creeks and beaches, creating health risks for swimmers, fish and plant life.
      Impact to your bottom line: Increased sewer blockages and overflows lead to costly maintenance and can result in severe fines from State regulatory agencies. This can increase your sewer fees.

    Resources for Food Services Establishments:
    Best management Practices for Your Kitchen
    Get Training Materials for Your Staff

    Commercial FAQs
    • What is FOG and what is the FOG control program?
    • Why shouldn't FOG go down the drain?
    • What are the sources of FOG? Who produces FOG?
    • Why is the issue of SSOs (sanitary sewer overflows) important? 
    • What should I do if I experience a sewer blockage or overflow?
    • What do I do with the oil used in deep fryers?
    • What is the difference between yellow grease and brown grease?
    • Should I use large quantities of detergent to wash grease down the drain?
    • Should I use additives to wash grease down the drain?  


    What is FOG and what is the FOG control program?
    FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Grease.  FOG is animal and vegetable fats, oils and greases as extracted from a wastewater sample by select solvents in a laboratory.  Fats, oils and greases are natural by-products of the cooking and food preparation process.
    The FOG control program is being implemented by Montgomery County Water Services (MCWS) in order to monitor and reduce the amount of Fats, Oils and Grease that enters our sanitary sewer system.
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    Why shouldn't FOG go down the drain?
    When FOG is released into the sewer lines in any amounts, it poses a serious threat to the County's sanitary sewer collection system's ability to remove waste from our community.  FOG sticks to the sides of pipes decreasing the pipe's capacity and eventually blocking the pipe entirely.  This requires our sewer piping to be cleaned more often and equipment replacement due to grease related damages.
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    What are the sources of FOG?  Who produces FOG?
    Common sources of FOG include meat fats, dairy products, food scraps, cooking oils, baked goods, sauces, dressings, sandwich spreads, gravies, marinades, dairy products, shortening, lard, butter and margarine.
    FOG is produced by restaurants, cafeterias, delis, bakeries, day cares, assisted living, social halls and residential homeowners – basically, anyone who deals with food, especially while cooking.
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    Why is the issue of SSOs (Sanitary Sewer Overflows) important?
    Overflowing sewers release bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that may be hazardous to human health.  The sewage may be released into your business or home, or into our waterways, streets and parks.  SSOs are unpleasant and expensive to clean up, and if they occur on your property, it is you, the property owner, who is responsible for the clean-up.  Having an SSO occur in your establishment may also lower the number of customers.
    If the County is responsible for a clean-up, manpower and money are wasted on something that could have been avoided.  The costs associated with SSOs are not limited to the Public Utilities clean up costs of containment, removal, and disposal of contaminated materials, emergency line cleaning, disinfectants, sampling and testing, record keeping and documentation, public notification, and EPA & MCWS enforcement actions.  The non-direct costs may include media related costs, property damages, public relations, insurance, worker and public exposure to untreated wastewater (pathogens and viruses) and decreased tourism. These costs will, most likely, trickle down into customers' sewer bills.
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    What should I do if I experience a sewer blockage or overflow?
    First, call Montgomery County Water Services at (937) 781-2678.  They will come and determine whether the blockage is on your property or County property.  If the blockage is occurring on County property and cannot be traced exclusively back to you, then they will perform the clean up.  If the blockage is on your property and is obviously due to your improper practices, you will have to hire a plumber to fix the problem.
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    What do I do with the oil used in deep fryers?
    If you are using deep fryers in your establishment, contact a rendering company to provide a bin or barrel for regular pick up. 
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    What is the difference between yellow grease and brown grease?
    Brown grease means floatable fats, oils, greases and settled solids that are recovered from grease control devices.  Brown Grease is composed of floatable FOG and settled solids recovered from grease traps and interceptors.  Brown grease is difficult to reuse. The greasy content of the interceptor is known as "brown" grease and is generally disposed at a wastewater treatment facility but may become part of renewable energy sources in the future.
    Yellow grease means fats, oils, and greases that have not been in contact or contaminated with other sources (water, wastewater, solid waste, etc).  An example of yellow grease is fryer oil, which can be recycled into products such as animal feed, cosmetics and alternative fuel.  Yellow grease is also referred to as renderable FOG.
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    Should I use large quantities of detergent to wash grease down the drain?

    Products such as detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere.  In short, you remove it from your immediate vicinity only to help create a larger problem downstream.
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    Should I use additives to wash grease down the drain?
    Additives are generally prohibited, as many tend to pass grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere.
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    2014 Drinking Water Quality Report

    Montgomery County Environmental Services has once again met or exceeded all state and federal standards for drinking water. Read more about it in our annual Drinking Water Quality Report!


    2013-2015 Strategic Plan

    View our department's strategic plan − our roadmap to provide a better quality of life through our environmental services.