Grease Trap Regulations in San Francisco
Grease trap regulations in San Francisco are among the strictest in the nation. California leads the nation in both innovations and regulations governing environmental hazards.
Who regulates grease disposal in San Francisco?
Grease traps are essential to ensuring the proper disposal of grease, oil, and other food waste (FOGs) from commercial kitchens. In San Francisco, the regulations governing grease traps are set by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and enforced by the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI). The regulations aim to prevent the release of grease and other food waste into the city’s sewer system, which can cause blockages and backups in the pipes, leading to environmental pollution and health hazards.
What is a fatberg?
The disposal of FOGs into public sewers can result in fatbergs, huge, solid masses of fats, oils and grease that block public sewers and waterways and create massive, expensive cleanups. Fatbergs are a growing problem worldwide.
Who needs a grease trap?
In San Francisco, all commercial kitchens are required to have a grease trap installed on the premises. The grease trap must meet the minimum size requirements set by the SFPUC, which vary depending on the size of the kitchen and the volume of grease produced. The minimum size requirements ensure that the grease trap is able to effectively capture and retain grease and food waste, preventing it from entering the sewer system.
In San Francisco food service establishments fall into one of four categories depending on the volume of FOGs they produce. Each category has its own set of grease trap requirements.
Regulations governing maintenance of grease traps in San Francisco
The SFPUC requires that all grease traps must be cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure their proper functioning. The frequency of cleaning is dependent on the volume of grease produced by the kitchen and the size of the grease trap. The SFPUC also requires that grease traps be inspected annually by a certified inspector to ensure that they are in good working condition and are being maintained according to the regulations. Typically, an average restaurant will require grease trap cleaning once per quarter but busy restaurants or restaurants with small traps often need it once per month. In all cases traps (or interceptors) should never be allowed to accumulate FOGs and water in excess of 25% of capacity.
In addition to the regulations governing the installation and maintenance of grease traps, the SFPUC also regulates the disposal of grease and food waste. Grease and food waste must be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner and may not be poured down the drain or into the sewer system. The SFPUC recommends that commercial kitchens use a licensed waste hauler to properly dispose of their grease and food waste.
Penalties for improper grease disposal in San Francisco
Penalties for non-compliance with the regulations governing grease traps in San Francisco can be substantial. The DBI is responsible for enforcing the regulations and can issue fines and penalties to commercial kitchens that are found to be in violation of the regulations. In addition to fines, non-compliant kitchens may also face legal action and may be required to close until the violation is corrected.
What FOG regulations accomplish in San Francisco
In conclusion, the regulations governing grease traps in San Francisco play an essential role in ensuring the proper disposal of grease, oil, and food waste from commercial kitchens. By requiring the installation of grease traps, regular cleaning and maintenance, and safe disposal of grease and food waste, the regulations protect the city’s sewer system and prevent environmental pollution and health hazards. The regulations are enforced by the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.
SAF, Smart Alternative Fuels is licensed to collect and recycle used cooking oil from restaurants and to maintain grease traps and dispose of fats, oils and grease.
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