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Restaurants: Green Kitchens

Build-up of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) in pipes can cause serious problems in the sanitary sewer system and that could mean serious problems for your business's bottom line.

In a restaurant or other food service establishment, plumbing problems caused by FOG  include:

  • Expensive cleanup, repair and replacement of damaged property.
  • Raw sewage overflows due to blocked sewer lines.
  • Rancid odors.
  • Potential contact with microorganisms that can cause hepatitis and gastroenteritis.

Preventing grease and fats from getting into your pipes is much cheaper than removing it.



Get certified by

  • Train kitchen staff and other employees to implement best management practices for kitchen grease disposal. Have staff members complete the free FOG Regional Certification Program online at

Use the Most Appropriate Water Temperature

  • Follow local health department regulations for water temperature.
  • Use a mechanical dishwasher with a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a water temperature of less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit in all sinks, especially the pre-rinse sink that precedes a mechanical dishwasher. Temperatures in excess of 140 degrees Fahrenheit will dissolve grease, but grease can solidify in the sanitary system as the water cools.

Dry Wipe all Pots, Pans and Dishware

  • Wipe all greasy residue and food debris from pots, pans and dishware prior to washing. This will keep FOG out of grease traps and interceptors. The most effective method is to use a spatula and then follow up with a paper towel. This will reduce the frequency needed for cleaning of grease traps and interceptors and also result in lower maintenance costs.

Properly Dispose of Food Waste

  • Dispose of food debris in the trash. Food debris should never be put down a drain or into a toilet.

Properly Maintain Exterior Grease Interceptors

  • Clean or pump contents of interceptor at a minimum of once every 90 days. Some facilities may need to clean more frequently in order to prevent exceeding 25% capacity of the interceptor with grease and food solids. Check with your grease waste hauler to determine what your interceptor pump frequency needs to be.

Oversee Grease Interceptor Cleaning

  • Ensure your hauler is certified through the program and permitted through HRSD.
  • Make sure the complete contents of the grease interceptor are pumped and grease buildup is washed from the sides. Partial pumping (grease layer only) is not allowed. Contact your grease waste hauler or supervise cleanings to make sure contents are pumped completely.

Clean Interior (Floor and Under-Sink) Grease Traps

  • Watch this Grease Trap Cleaning Tutorial.
  • Under-sink traps have less volume than grease interceptors. Place recovered grease in a proper disposal container or call a grease hauler for pickup. Closed containers can be placed in a dumpster, but do not pour grease down any drains or toilets.

Maintain a Maintenance Log and All Service Records

  • The log serves as a record of the frequency of cleaning and the volume of grease recovered from the grease interceptor. Service records verify the accuracy of the maintenance log to provide proof of maintenance.

Clean Your Range Hood

  • Range hoods, and range hood vent filters pose a serious fire hazard if left dirty. Keep your hood clean, and make sure that the water used to clean it drains into your grease control device.

Cover Yellow Grease Containers Stored Outdoors

  • Uncovered yellow grease bins can collect rainwater. Since FOG floats, the rainwater can overflow the container and carry FOG into storm drains where it will reach local waterways. Grease is harmful to waterways and aquatic life.

Place Absorbent Materials Around Yellow Grease Bins

  • Placing absorbent materials around yellow grease bins keeps spilled grease from flowing into the stormwater system. It is a food service establishment owner’s responsibility to make sure that grease bins are maintained and kept in proper working condition.

Conspicuously Post “No Grease” Signs

  • Post “No Grease” signs as a constant reminder in restrooms, over sinks, near all floor drains and dishwashers, and anywhere else water may enter a drain. (You can request signs from your municipal FOG program manager.)




We live in a beautiful region surrounded by water. It impacts everything from the food we eat to the fun we have as well as our economic livelihood. Our daily actions have a lasting impact and it's up to us to protect and restore our waterways. It takes a community of individuals making small changes to make a difference. Getting involved in the Bay Star programs is one way you can be part of the effort to protect our region's most defining natural resource, water.

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