Oil and Grease Pollution prevention focuses on the elimination or reduction of waste before it is generated through changes in production, operation and raw material use.
Managing waste after it occurs may be costly and time consuming. Adopting pollution prevention is key to saving money, resources and to improving the quality of the environment. The Fort Worth Water Department is committed to protecting the City’s sewer system by encouraging and awarding those who take the extra step in preventing pollution.
Animal fats and vegetable oils, also known as grease for example, are some of the most common pollutants of the sewer system. Grease is the result of cooking and occurs naturally in many types of food. Grease enters the sanitary sewer as a result of food preparation and the washing of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and other equipment. Animal fats and vegetable oils go down the drain, where they cool and eventually solidify (fats and oils do not mix with water). Over time the sewer pipe’s diameter is significantly reduced by the accumulation of grease. Petroleum oils and byproducts from automotive repair facilities and car washes may also cause grease problems in the sewer system.
Residential, commercial and industrial facilities generate grease. Single-family homes, apartment complexes, restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, airports, food processing plants, car washes and automotive service stations are just a few of the potential sources.
Restaurant Wastewater Discharge Permit Program
As a significant, potential source of grease within the city’s wastewater collection system, restaurants and other designated food service establishments are required to obtain a permit prior to discharging wastewater into the sanitary sewer.
Grease traps are designed to separate out the fats, oils, grease and solids from the wastewater discharged into the sanitary sewer system. The City of Fort Worth requires restaurants, food processing facilities, automotive repair facilities, car washes, commercial laundries and all other facilities that the City deems necessary to install and maintain grease or grit traps. It is the responsibility of the generators to ensure that their grease/grit traps, and the wastewater discharged from them, are in compliance with all City requirements.
Grease Trap Installation
Sizing methods are used in determining the grease trap sizes that will afford the City’s sanitary sewer system a minimum degree of protection against grease and other obstructing materials. Sizing of grease traps is based on the operational data of each facility. Customers that are required to install grease traps need to review the City of Fort Worth’s Guidance Document for Sizing and Installation of Grease Traps and Interceptors. Before installing a grease trap please contact each of the following City offices:
- Pretreatment Services, Water Department: 817-392-8305
- Plumbing Inspection Section, Development Department: 817-392-7980
- If the facility is required to be permitted by the Code Compliance Department, contact the Consumer Health Services Division
Grease Trap Maintenance
In order to function properly fats, oils, grease and solids must be cleaned from a grease trap on a regular basis. Article VII in Chapter 12.5 of the Fort Worth Ordinance states that liquid waste facilities (grease traps) shall be maintained in continuous, proper working order. Grease traps shall be one hundred percent (100%) pumped out at least once every ninety (90) days, and at all other times as necessary to maintain their effectiveness. The City may order a generator to have its grease traps pumped out more frequently if the City determines that it is necessary for the protection of the sanitary sewer.
Failure to properly clean and maintain a grease trap is a violation of the City Ordinance and may subject the violators to penalties of up to $2,000 per violation per day.
The City maintains a list of permitted transporter that are allowed to operate in the City of Fort Worth. Generators are required to use only permitted transporters for the cleaning and transporting of liquid wastes (including grease wastes). Failure to use a permitted transporters is a violation of the City Ordinance and may subject the generator to penalties of up to $2,000 per violation per day.
Grease Trap Reporting and Record Keeping Requirements
The transporter must present a City of Fort Worth Scantron Liquid Waste Trip Ticket with city issued Business ID Business ID List in ascending order of street number and street name or Business ID List in ascending order of facility name for the generator to complete before any waste is removed from the grease trap. The yellow copy of the trip ticket is the generator receipt and should be retained until the completed trip ticket (goldenrod copy) is returned from the final disposal company. The final trip ticket must be must be stored on the premises of the facility for a period of not less than five (5) years.
Failure to properly report and maintain records is a violation of the City Ordinance and may be subject the violators to enforcement actions, including penalties of up to $2,000 per violation per day.
Do’s and Don’ts
Most (but not all) sewer back-ups and blockages occur between the house or business and the City’s sewer main. The following suggestions will help to minimize all types of sanitary sewer blockages:
- Pour grease, fats and oils from cooking down the drain.
- Use the toilet as a wastebasket.
- Use the sewer as a means to dispose of food scraps.
- Flush interceptor with hot water to clear or clean the interceptor in lieu of pumping out the device.
- Scrape excess oil and grease into a container. Waste oil and grease from restaurants can be sold to rendering facilities. Residential sources should dispose of oil and grease in the garbage.
- Wipe dishes, pots and pans with a used paper towel prior to washing.
- Food scraps should be disposed in a compost pile or the trash. Avoid using the garbage disposal.
- Use screens and other equipment to ensure food material does not enter sink and floor drains.
- Facilities are required to have grease traps must have them pumped and cleaned at least once every 90 days, or more often as necessary to ensure proper function.
- Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
Enzymes, Bacteria and Bioremediation
Section 12.5-731 of the City Ordinance forbids the use of enzymes, bacteria and other forms of bioremediation without prior approval of the City of Fort Worth. These types of alternative treatments for FOG only work if conditions in the grease separation device are ideal. Otherwise, the FOG molecules are converted into shorter chain fatty acids, which may be flushed out of the grease separation device and into the sanitary sewer system. The fatty acids recombine into insoluble molecules, adhering to the surface of the sewer line and causing blockages in the collection system.
The use of bioremediation agents, without the prior approval of the City of Fort Worth, is considered a violation of the City Ordinance and could subject violators to enforcement actions, including penalties of up to $2,000 per violation per day.
Please contact Pretreatment Services , if you have any questions regarding grease trap requirements.
920 Fournier Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
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(water main breaks, sewer backups)
817-392-4477 Select Option 1
Call Center - Non-emergency
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Monday through Friday
(Closed City Holidays) 817-392-4477
P. O. Box 870
Fort Worth, TX 76102
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