Fats, Oils & Grease

Fats, Oils, & Grease, commonly referred to as FOG, is produced during normal food preparation and kitchen cleaning activities and is one of the biggest challenges facing the wastewater collection system in the City of Arcata. Most notable, FOG build up in sewer pipes can cause sanitary sewer overflows, which can lead to raw sewage in local creeks and the bay. Cleaning FOG from sewer pipes and cleaning up sanitary sewer overflows is an extremely expensive and time consuming activity.  To protect the sewer system from grease buildup Arcata Municipal Code prohibits excessive FOG discharges. 

FOG & Food Service Establishments

Wastewater Survey

FSEs submit a Food Service Establishment Wastewater Survey to the City anytime an FSE undergoes a remodel, change of ownership, significant menu change, or when a new FSE is opening. The survey details what type and how much food is served or prepared as well as what type of appliances and sinks are used in the kitchen. Depending on the activities at your facility, you may be required to install equipment that removes FOG from the waste stream before it is discharged to the City's collection system. Please mail, deliver or fax your completed survey to the Environmental Services Department or by email.

All FSEs are subject to FOG inspections. FSEs that are found to produce FOG are inspected regularly to make sure that they are disposing of FOG in an appropriate manner and that any required grease removal device is appropriately operated and maintained.

In addition to grease removal devices, the City encourages FSEs to implement best management practices (BMPs) and employee training procedures to control FOG in the kitchen and reduce the risk of costly plumbing repairs associated with grease blockages. BMPs include using in-sink strainers to catch food solids, scraping food off dishes before placing them into the sink, and never pouring cooking oil or grease down the drain. For more information about kitchen BMPs, click the links below:

FOG & Residents

The City asks businesses and individuals alike to do their part to maintain the sewer system. Residents in the City are encouraged to help protect the sewer system by keeping foods like meat grease, oils, butter and other dairy products, meat, salad dressing and nut butters out of the kitchen sink. For more information about residential BMPs, click the link below: