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Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

The problem and solution

Whenever we eat food at home, eat a restaurant or even pass by a drive-through, someone has to cook and clean the dirty pots and dishes that remain.

The best, harmless approach to cleaning is to wipe the cooking equipment of the fats, oils and grease before washing it. Foods that float in the dish water should not go down the drain, and foods that fall to the bottom of the sink when washing belong in the trash, too. When that doesn't happen, the fats, oils and grease (FOG) get rinsed right down the drain and end up in our sewers, which are not designed to accept these substances.

FOG sticks to the sides of the sewer pipes and harden inside. They block wastewater flow and clog sewer pipes, which can cause sewers to overflow onto our streets and into our homes and businesses — costing us all a lot of money. This has become a major problem for Miami-Dade County's sewer system.

The damage:

  • Unsanitary public health conditions that breed bacteria, combined with bad odors and high cleanup costs for homeowners, food-service establishments and public works departments.
  • Several million dollars lost each year spent unclogging greasy FOG inside our sewer pipes.
  • Several more millions lost to increase spending on the interference caused by FOG slowing down our sewage treatment plant process, affecting the pumps and generators that clean our wastewater.
  • FOG-related violations impact FOG Discharge Control Permit regulations that can cause monetary penalties that affect the bottom line at food-service establishments.

To work effectively, our sewer system must be properly maintained from the drain all the way to the treatment plant.

Currently, Miami-Dade County and its municipalities, along with the County's sewer system infrastructure, is under Federal Court Order to correct existing problems.

Details about required upgrades and operational changes, including reducing the amount of fats, oils and grease in sewer pipes, can be read in the settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal organizations.

 

Is your kitchen fat free?

Fats, oils and grease (FOG) can create havoc on your business and our sewer system.

Wiping pots, pans and dishes before washing them — so the greasy, fatty sauces, oils, fats and gravy go in the trash — can prevent clogged pipes and costly repairs.

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FOG Discharge Control Permit & proposed requirements

Restaurants and other food-service establishments are a significant source of fats, oils and grease (FOG) because of the amount produced from cooking, food preparation and cleanup work.

Miami-Dade County is currently working on proposed changes to current regulations intended to prevent FOG from entering the sewer system.

The FOG Discharge Control Operating Permit requires Miami-Dade County restaurants and other food-service establishments that sell food to install effective FOG-capturing equipment, such as grease traps or interceptors.

The proposed changes for FOG control will provide clear guidelines on exactly what type of FOG-capturing equipment restaurants must install, and standards to ensure the equipment is well maintained and serviced.

To help restaurants understand the importance of compliance with the Grease Discharge Permit — requirements that include correctly installing and maintaining grease traps — County inspectors are distributing educational material as part of their visit to permitted food-service establishments.

Additional instructional materials are being developed so that permit holders can identify and prevent FOG from discharging into the sewer system. 

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Grease trap maintenance log

The Grease Discharge Annual Operating (GDO) permit requires that the operator/permit holder keep maintenance records of their grease pretreatment device on site for three years for Miami-Dade County staff to inspect.

The Grease Trap Maintenance Log should be used to capture any maintenance actions (e.g., pump-out, structural repair, replacement of outlet-T, etc.) that occurs on the grease pretreatment devices on your premises.

If you use a County-approved liquid waste hauler to pump out your interceptor, you will receive a pump-out receipt/manifest and pertinent information can then be easily transferred to this Maintenance Log. 

However, if you have a Manual or Automatic Grease Recovery Unit (MGRU or AGRU) that is not regularly serviced by a County-approved hauler and you manually dispose of the collected grease by double-bagging the grease and putting it in a lined trash can, then be sure to record every cleanout event in this Log.

Be sure to keep this Log available in a three ring binder or a plastic sleeve very near to where your grease trap/interceptor is located. Be sure to instruct staff on how to use the Log and keep the GDO permit in a visible location for all staff to see. Photocopy additional blank sheets if you need more space to capture maintenance events.

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Control Device Guidance Manual

FOG Control Device Guidance Manual 2.0, coming soon, is intended to assist Miami-Dade County staff reviewing development plans for projects that generate, or have the potential to generate, fats, oils and grease.

It also serves to guide designers and facility owners/managers with what is required for these types of establishments.

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Gravity Interceptor Condition Assessment

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Hydromechanical Interceptor Condition Assessment

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Did you know?

  • All food service establishments (e.g. restaurants, cafeterias, bakeries, coffee shops, juice bars, etc,) MUST have a current Grease Discharge Operating Permit (GDO) issued by Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM).
  • All GDO's MUST have a Grease Trap.
  • All Grease Traps MUST be maintained and in good working order.
  • All Grease Traps MUST be cleaned at the frequency shown on the GDO permit.
  • Cleaning a Grease Trap includes pumping all wastewater and waste (FOG, settled solids, etc,) from the system to a truck licensed by DERM to haul and dispose waste at an approved facility. Skimming, decanting or putting any wastewater or waste back in the system is prohibited.
  • Utilizing an unlicensed hauler is prohibited. Licensed hauler MUST exhibit a DERM 2016 decal.
  • Not properly/completely cleaning a grease trap as mandated above (or by your GDO permit) will result in the issuance of a ticket or other enforcement action by DERM.
  • Starting January 2017, food service establishments MUST report when their grease traps are cleaned. Reporting will be by a simple-to-use internet application.
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Page Last Edited: Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:26:42 PM
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