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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Grease Management Program

Portland Grease Management Program

What is FOG (fats, oils and grease)?

  • A general classification for fats, oils, grease and waxes that have a negative effect on the city's collection system

Why is FOG a problem for city sewers?

  • Causes sanitary sewage releases (SSRs) and sewer backups - FOG accounts for 10% to 15% of Portland's yearly SSRs and sewer backups
  • Increases sewer operation and maintenance costs - 10 miles of city sewer pipes are on an accelerated cleaning schedule due to FOG

How does FOG get to the sewer?

  • Wastewater from the kitchen cleaning
  • Residential customers pouring used FOG down the sink instead of disposing of it in the trash
  • Restaurants and multi-family residences not properly maintaining grease removal devices, not having grease removal devices, not following kitchen FOG best management practices, using garbage disposals (disposals encourage poor kitchen practices, everything goes down the drain), pouring used FOG down the sink instead of disposing of it in the trash

What is Portland doing to address the FOG issue?

  • Initiated the Grease Management Program in 2005
  • Addresses commercial and residential problem areas
  • Establishes Grease Management Areas (GMAs) in neighborhoods with repeated sanitary sewage releases and sewer backups, where frequency of sewer cleaning is increased, and that have a high density of restaurants or multi-family residences
  • Puts sewer lines in GMAs on accelerated cleaning schedules and provides BMP information to the restaurants in the GMAs
  • Multi-family residences in grease management areas receive outreach information on how to minimize impacts of FOG to sewer

There are four GMAs and 25 smaller problem areas in Portland. FOG problems in 20 of these 29 areas are related to restaurants or multi-family residences. A recent evaluation of the city's FOG program indicates that the problem is not improving and the city continues to identify new problem areas.


Preferred Pumper Program (PPP)

  • Last year the City of Portland began working with grease trap service providers and restaurants to identify, inspect and set appropriate cleaning frequency for grease traps and interceptors.
  • Municipalities participating in the Preferred Pumper Program are the cities of Portland, Gresham, Wilsonville, Canby, Troutdale and Newberg, Clean Water Services and Water Environment Services
  • These jurisdictions have also identified FOG as an issue and are developing FOG abatement programs.

Last year, the City of Portland began inspecting restaurants with grease removal devices. Of the 150 restaurant inspections last year, about 60% needed to increase cleaning frequency and 25% needed to repair or replace grease removal devices.