Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SFPUC: The Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) Control Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The Proposed Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Control Ordinance was introduced at the Board of Supervisors on 11/9/10 and has been assigned to the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee. A hearing at this committee will be schedule in the near future after a 30 day period has passed from the date of introduction. Click here for a version of the proposed ordinance as it was introduced.  Also, see the Fact Sheet for the Proposed FOG Control Ordinance in EnglishChinese and Spanish.

Background Information: 

Fats, oils and grease (FOG), can be a major problem for San Francisco's sewers and for the bay and ocean that surround San Francisco. When not disposed of properly, FOG can clog San Francisco's sewers costing us all a lot of money —over $3.5 million each year to respond to grease clogged pipes. When poured down drains, cooking oil will harden and build up inside of drain pipes and sewer pipes, constricting water flow the way cholesterol affects blood flow in arteries. Grease blockages can also cause back ups in the City sewer system itself and can lead to sewer overflows onto City streets or into the bay and ocean.

Restaurants, and other food service establishments (FSEs), are a significant source of FOG because of the amount of grease used in cooking and other food preparation work. For several years, the SFPUC has been working - with input from Golden Gate Restaurant Association to develop a plan to prevent FOG from restaurants and other FSEs from entering the sewer system. The proposed FOG Control Ordinance is being developed to resolve/improve the problem.

San Francisco law already requires that restaurants and other FSEs comply with limits for the amount of total oil and grease that can be discharged into City sewers. The discharge limit alone, however, is clearly not working to keep FOG out of the sewers. The proposed ordinance will give local FSEs clear requirements on exactly what type of grease capturing equipment they have to install, resulting in standards and inspections to ensure that any type of grease capturing equipment is well maintained and serviced.

Ordinance Revisions:
  • The first version of the proposed FOG Control Ordinance  was posted on the SFWater.org website in February 2010. From March through May 2010, SFPUC staff conducted outreach to potentially impacted businesses in the City – such as restaurants, caterers and other food service establishments. Presentations were made at several Town Hall meetings for restaurant owners and managers, in coordination with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA). Information on the proposed ordinance was also presented to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and to BOMA San Francisco. Additional door-to-door bilingual outreach was conducted to several hundred smaller restaurants in the City.
  • The second version of the Proposed FOG Control Ordinance was presented to the SPFUC Commission on 9/14/10. This version of the proposed ordinance reflected revisions made to address comments received, to make the ordinance language more technically accurate in some cases, and to address several necessary non-substantive, administrative changes.
  • The final version of the proposed FOG Control Ordinance was introduced at the Board of Supervisors on 11/9/10. The only change made to the ordinance as compared to the previous version was the addition of language clarifying or extending compliance and effective dates.
For those interested in reviewing the revisions made in greater detail, the following documents are provided:
  • To view a summary document explaining the rationale for the revisions made from the initial version circulated in February 2010 through to the version introduced at the Board of Supervisors in November 2010, click here
  • To view a redlined version of the revisions made between the first and second proposed versions of the ordinance, click here.
For additional questions on the proposed FOG Control Ordinance, email FOGOrdinance@sfwater.org.

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