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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

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Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Fats, Oils and Grease: Cut Through the FOG


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Cut Through the FOG Protects Property, Water Quality and Public Health

The City of Portland spends millions of additional dollars each year to clean and repair sewer lines clogged by grease, and to treat wastewater containing high concentrations of fats, oils and grease (FOG) and food waste.Blocked sewer pipes can cause sewer backups in basements and sewer overflows from manholes. Repairs and cleanup are expensive for the city and property owners, and sewage releases threaten public health and the environment. Restaurants and other food service establishments are the main source of FOG and food waste pollution.

Tips for residential customers: The key to keeping pipes clog-free is keeping grease out of tips.

Requirements and Rate Structure

The Bureau of Environmental Services collects fees from residential and commercial sewer customers to support Portland’s sewage collection and treatment system. Sewage collected from some commercial customers contains large amounts of FOG, organic material, suspended solids and food waste. Some of those customers pay a higher sewer fee because it costs more to treat this concentrated sewage.

More than 3,000 food service establishments discharge concentrated FOG and food waste. In January 2012, the city began implementing Cut Through the FOG, which added new requirements and began phasing in new sewer rates for all food service establishments. Cut Through the FOG increased the number of businesses that pay additional fees for waste discharges that require additional sewer cleaning and treatment, and changed sewer rates for other businesses and residential ratepayers.

Cut Through the FOG requires that all FOG conveyance lines be connected to grease interceptors in all Portland food service establishments when there is new construction, redevelopment, tenant improvement, or change in ownership or occupancy.

Rate Options Encourage Reduced Sewer Waste Discharges

Cut Through the FOG sewer rates are based on water use and unique features and practices at each food service establishment. City staff visit each affected business to verify conditions and offer information on the following best management practices, which help offset rate increases:

  • Installing and maintaining grease interceptors
  • Removing kitchen garbage disposals
  • Participating in food composting and food donation programs

Cut Through the FOG Benefits

Reducing sewer overflows and backups:

  • Protects property, public health and the environment
  • Reduces the costs of cleaning and repairing sewer lines, and treating wastewater
  • Saves ratepayers money by reducing investigations and enforcement related to sewer backups and overflows

For More Information

To learn more about Cut Through the FOG:
Call:  503-823-7093

To learn more about grease interceptor installation requirements, call 503-823-7122.


Video: The Proper Cleaning and Maintenance of a Grease Removal Device

Video: What You Can Do To Manage Your Sewer Costs Better

Video: Good Kitchen Practices

Updated: March 29, 2017


Best management practices, preferred pumper program, grease management areas, grease interceptor maintenance

Rate Options

Information about current rates and calculating rates

And Now For Something Really Disgusting

This is what it looks like when grease clogs sewer pipes

Contact Us

Send a message to Cut Through the FOG staff or call 503-823-7093