The City of Portland spends about $100,000 a year cleaning and repairing sewer lines clogged by grease, and about $12 million a year to treat wastewater containing high concentrations of food waste. Wastewater discharges from commercial food service establishments are the main sources of FOG (fats, oil and grease) and other food waste in the city's sewer system. Food service establishments include bakeries, donut shops, hotels, supermarkets, meat processors, commercial kitchens, coffee shops and restaurants.
Grease can build up and completely block sewer pipes. That can create difficult and expensive maintenance problems for both the city and private property owners. Blocked sewer pipes can cause raw sewage to back up into homes or businesses, or overflow into streets and streams.
Some areas of Portland, especially areas with lots of food service establishments, require more frequent sewer maintenance because of grease blockages. The city has designated these as accelerated grease cleaning areas (AGCAs) and cleans sewer pipes in these areas 20 to 30 times more frequently.
City staff is available to assist Portland businesses in adopting practices that reduce FOG and food waste discharges to the sewer system.
Cut Through the FOG reduces FOG and food waste discharges to the sewer system as an important strategy to:
- Protect public health and the environment by reducing sewer overflows and backups
- Reduce the costs of cleaning and repairing sewer lines and treating wastewater
- Save all ratepayers money by reducing investigations and enforcement related to sewer backups and overflows