Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)

Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG) Program

The city’s Sewer Ordinance was written to prevent harmful substances from being introduced into the Sanitary Sewer System. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are some of the substances that harm the Sanitary Sewer System.

What is FOG? FOG is a byproduct of food preparation, cooking, and cleanup of dishes, pots and pans, utensils, etc.

Where does FOG come from? FOG comes from many food sources: meats, nuts, plant / vegetable oils, dairy products, soups, gravies, condiments, sauces, pastas, poultry, etc.

What does FOG do? FOG cools immediately upon pouring it down the drain. It quickly sticks to and solidifies on the sides of sewer pipes. Since FOG is insoluble in water it eventually builds up and creates a blockage. Despite the use of hot water, detergent, or additives, FOG will still solidify on the sewer walls and cause blockages. Blockages can lead to Sanitary Sewer overflows (SSOs). SSOs can lead to fines – DEQ may fine localities $35,000 per occurrence (your tax dollars at work). SSOs are also bad for the environment and our health.

How You Can Help

Residents can help keep oil out of their drains at home and out of the sewer system by wiping down greasy pots and pans, dishes, and utensils with disposable towels before washing. After it cools, used cooking oil can be poured in a can, solidified in the freezer, and then tossed in the trash or can be poured back into the container it came in and taken to the city’s compost facility at 550 Atkinson Way, Monday through Saturday 8 AM - 4 PM. For more information on FOG, visit askhrgreen.org.
Grease in Sanitary Sewer Pipes Leads to Overflows
Grease Control Devices
A section for Food Service Establishments (FSEs) was added to the City of Newport News Ordinance in 2010. An FSE is any business facility that prepares, serves, or otherwise makes food available for consumption. FSEs are required to have equipment called grease control devices to collect FOG and prevent it from going down the sanitary sewer and to use approved grease haulers to clean the devices. They are also required to have two employees certified in Kitchen Best Management Practices. This certification can be achieved by reading the online training and passing an online test.