Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)

Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG) Program

The city’s Sewer Ordinance (Chapter 33, Article IV, Division 2. – Fats, Oils, and Grease) 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.  FOG comes from many food sources:  meats, nuts, vegetable oils, dairy products, soups, gravies, condiments, sauces, pasta, 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.

Grease in Sanitary Sewer Pipes Leads to Overflows

The FOG Program

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 properly maintain the devices.   They are also required to have two employees certified in Kitchen Best Management Practices. 

All FSEs must register for the FOG program. A copy of the Registration Form is located under Quick Links on this page.  After you submit your registration, you will be contacted by a Wastewater Inspector to schedule an educational visit and compliance inspection in your facility.