The City Council, in enacting the grease ordinance (Title 17, Chapter 17.40 of Municipal Code), intends to provide for the maximum beneficial public use of the city’s sewer system, to prevent blockages of that system and the accidental discharge of wastewater into the storm drain system or the Pacific Ocean, to ensure the cost of maintaining the city’s sewer system is equitably distributed among users, to clarify grease disposal requirements for existing food service establishments, and to promote public health and safety.
It is the purpose and intent of the grease control program, or FOG program, to establish regulations for the disposal of grease and other insoluble waste discharges from food service establishments within the city.
The grease ordinance requires:
RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE TRAINING
RESTAURANT EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS
On June 12, 2001, the City Council awarded a contract to Environmental Compliance Inspection Services (ECIS) to inspect and monitor food preparation establishments in the City’s service area. As the City's designated FOG inspector, this contractor is authorized to inspect establishments and enforce the Grease Ordinance using all legal means.
Why we need to control grease in the sewer:
Sanitary sewer overflows are a serious problem in sewer systems throughout Orange County and, in coastal cities, have resulted in many beach closures. The Grand Jury recently issued a report noting grease as one of the most prevalent causes of sewer overflows. An analysis of overflows in the City of Laguna Beach sewer system, between 1997 and 2000, revealed that roots and grease are the two primary causes of spills. The private sewer lateral program is underway to address the roots in the sewer system, which are responsible for approximately 60% of overflows. Grease, the second most frequent cause of spills, is responsible for an estimated 25% of sewer overflows. Grease in the sewer system is generated in large quantities by food preparation facilities, such as restaurants and grocery store delis that sell food for immediate consumption. Grease from food preparation and cooking coagulates in the sewer pipes when it cools down and can restrict the flow of wastewater. Restricted flow causes solid material in the pipe to accumulate, resulting in blockages and wastewater spills.
Given the magnitude of these problems, and the fact that the City was fined by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, serious action is necessary to reduce sanitary sewer overflows. In May 2001, the City Council reviewed the grease problem in the City and directed staff to obtain a proposal to enforce Title 17 of the Municipal Code regarding sewer maintenance, use and design. A primary concern at the time was to reduce the impact of grease on the sewer system.