Does your community have a FOG Managment Program?
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) General Permit Status in Connecticut
In 2005, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) promulgated the General Permit for the Discharge of Wastewater Associated with Food Preparation Establishments. The overall intent of this General Permit was for all Food Preparation Establishments (FPEs) that are connected to a sewer system to install grease traps/interceptors or automatic grease recovery units by July 1, 2011. FPEs are generally defined as Class III and IV restaurants and other facilities such as hospital kitchens, school kitchens, bakeries, and clubs that prepare cooked foods.
The General Permit was developed to provide municipalities and wastewater utilities with the regulatory basis to require restaurants and other FPEs to install grease traps/interceptors in order to minimize severe blockage caused by grease accumulation. The overall goal of the CT DEP is to reduce the occurrence of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) associated with sewers clogging with grease.
In order to ensure the effectiveness of the General Permit, the CT DEP is encouraging municipalities and wastewater utilities to develop their own Fats, Oil, and Grease (FOG) Management Program which would include FPE registration, monitoring and enforcement. The CT DEP has a FOG Guidance Document and FOG Resource Document which include reference materials to be used to assist municipalities and wastewater utilities to develop a FOG Management Program. Several communities throughout Connecticut and around the country have developed effective FOG Management Programs, which are often attainable through web sites, and can be used as examples to assist a community in developing their own program.
It is important to note that the CT DEP encourages, but does not mandate that communities develop their own FOG Management Program. However, if a community without a FOG Management Program has reported SSO events that were created by grease blockages, the community could be subject to enforcement action by the CT DEP.
Requirements of the General Permit
A major emphasis of the General Permit is the maintenance of underground passive grease traps/interceptors and the proper disposal of the collected FOG material. The General Permit also requires:
- The interceptors need to be cleaned out once every three months; more frequently in cases where there is a higher volume of FOG.
- The collections are to be disposed of at a regional FOG receiving facility located at a water pollution control facility (WPCF) for further processing.
- Thickened FOG is ultimately to be transported to a biosolids (sludge) incinerator, with the FOG acting as supplemental fuel for the incinerator.
Current existing regional FOG receiving facilities are located at the Torrington, Windham, Hartford and New Haven WPCFs. Several other WPCFs are considering constructing FOG receiving facilities to service the FOG disposal needs of their community and region.
Wright-Pierce assisted the CT DEP with development of the original General Permit and with preparation of the FOG Guidance Documents based on a demonstration FOG Management Program for Torrington, Connecticut. Wright-Pierce has also assisted Torrington with the design and construction of a new regional FOG receiving facility and Windham with the upgrade of their FOG receiving system.
Wright-Pierce has worked with several communities outside CT to incorporate FOG management practices into their existing or updated sewer use ordinances.