FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Grease. FOG originates from food products such as butter, lard, vegetable oils, animal fats, meats, sauces and dairy products. FOG is typically generated during the preparation of food containing these products and from associated cleaning/washing up processes.
FOG usually comes from kitchens of Food Service Establishments (FSEs) where food is prepared, cooked or served. FSEs include but are not limited to, restaurants, takeaways, pubs which serve cooked food, cafés, coffee shops, hotels, B&Bs, convenience stores and supermarkets, garage forecourt shops with delicatessen counters and food production kitchens.
When fats, oils and grease are hot and are in liquid form, they pour easily down a drain or sink and appear harmless. However, when FOG cools, it solidifies and builds up inside the pipes causing serious blockages. Blockages caused by FOG can result in raw sewage overflowing from sewers into business premises, public areas, streams or rivers causing an environmental and public health hazard.
The removal of FOG is a difficult and expensive process. If your business premises or your neighbour’s premises are flooded due to sewer blockages caused by FOG discharged from your premises, you may be liable for covering the costs associated with hiring specialist machinery, specialist personnel, loss of stock and premises clean up.
Who is responsible for clearing FOG blockages?
Irish Water is responsible for the operation and maintenance of public sewers. This includes clearing blockages in sewers caused by FOG. However, blockages in private drains connecting to the public sewer are the responsibility of the business/property owner.
What can I do to prevent FOG blockages?
If you are operating to best practice, you should already have a grease trap or grease removal unit(s) fitted at your business premises. It’s important to ensure this trap/removal unit is the correct size and is kept fully serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations. You should also keep your effluent records up to date with details like oil recycling and FOG control equipment maintenance.