Fat, Oil, & Grease (FOG) Program

The Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) implemented the Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) Ordinance in 2006 to help decrease the number of grease-related sewer blockages, backups, and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). Sewer blockages and SSOs cause a direct threat to human health and the environment by causing sanitary sewer water to back up into basements and/or businesses and overflow into the streets which drain to our rivers, lakes, and streams. The WRA communities collectively adopted the FOG Ordinance in 2006 and have since seen a significant reduction in SSOs, FOG-related sewer blockages, and FOG buildup in the public wastewater collection system.

Fat, Oil, and Grease program logo

The Goal

The goal of the FOG Program is to work with food service establishment (FSE) managers and personnel to reduce the amount of FOG discharged to the public wastewater collection system. This is done by providing training on proper kitchen cleaning practices (Best Management Practices) and monitoring the establishment’s grease removal device (grease trap / grease interceptor) to ensure the device is being properly maintained and is adequately removing FOG and food solids prior to discharge to the publicly-owned treatment works (POTW).  

There are over 2,000 FSEs in the Des Moines Metro Area that are subject to the regulations within the FOG Ordinance. The ordinance requires FOG to be controlled or captured at the source (by the waste generator) using a combination of best management practices (BMPs) and grease removal devices.  FSEs work with WRA-certified waste haulers to maintain and clean their grease traps/interceptors on a routine basis. 

Below are photos of a cleanup activities in a commercial kitchen, installation of a grease interceptor, inside the manhole of the inlet side of a working grease interceptor showing a thick layer of FOG, and inside the manhole of the outlet side of a grease interceptor showing effective removal of fat, oil, and grease by gravity separation.