FOG (Fats, Oils and Grease)

The intricate system of lines that carries wastewater from businesses and residences are a lot like the arteries in the human body. Fats, oils and grease (FOG) from cooking oil, salad dressing and other foods can accumulate in wastewater lines over time and limit the volume of wastewater the system can carry. In a wastewater line, this can lead to blockages and overflows. More than 80% of wastewater blockages are attributed to grease or a combination of grease and other materials. The best way to resolve this problem is to keep FOG from entering the system.

Residential

Preventing FOG and other solids from entering the wastewater system is crucial for the health of the system. At home, residents should use paper towels to wipe food waste from dishes, pots, pans and utensils into a waste bin. Large quantities should be placed in a leak proof, plastic container and taken to one of several Citizen Collection Stations located throughout El Paso.

Though stoppages most often include a grease component, items like “flushable” wipes, hair, cotton-tipped applicators (Q-tips), paper towels and other household products can also cause blockages within the system. To avoid messy back-ups and costly repairs, the Utility stresses the importance of properly disposing of FOG, and only flushing the 3 P’s – pee, poo and (toilet) paper.

Commercial

El Paso Water implemented a program to address blockages and ensure FOG is managed correctly. The program regulates the discharge, transportation and disposal of FOG. Specifically, any food service establishment (FSE) that generates FOG is affected.

Registration

Grease traps collect grease and solids into two chambers to reduce discharge into the wastewater system. A grease trap that is not regularly maintained (shown above) is not effective in FOG capture.The requirements of the program were formally established in 2005 through Rules and Regulations No. 15 of the Public Service Board (PSB). Rule No. 15 requires any FSE that discharges or plans to discharge wastewater into El Paso's wastewater system to register with the PSB. A certificate of registration is issued to every registered FSE. Once issued, the certificate must be displayed by the establishment in a conspicuous location.

Another integral component of properly managing FOG waste is treatment through a grease recovery device, or grease interceptor, and its maintenance. Mobile food vendors and food trucks have their own specific requirements.

The program has contributed to a 78% reduction in the number of stoppages from 2005 to 2019, and a 59% reduction in overflows.

EPWater staff engages in outreach to register food service establishments and waste transporters. Presently there are 2,468 registered establishments. Outreach is ongoing.

Exceptions

Conditions might exist that could mean registration is unnecessary, if cooking does not occur and only disposable tools and other utensils are used, for example. A Request for Exemption may be submitted to El Paso Water for consideration.

Documentation

Rule No. 15 establishes a strict manifest system. Only transporters registered with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are authorized to collect and dispose of grease trap/interceptor waste in the City of El Paso. Manifests are available only at 6400 Boeing Drive, El Paso, TX 79925. These manifests must be utilized to document management of the waste.

There is no cost associated with processing of the below forms.

 Request for Exemption
 Application for Registration
 Application for Registration (Spanish)
 Application to Self-Clean

For additional information about the Fats, Oils and Grease Program, please contact the Industrial Pretreatment Program at (915)594-5729.

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