Food Service Establishments

Federal and State regulations mandate that municipalities have a Grease Control Policy. This policy is intended to reduce the amount of fats, oils, and grease in the wastewater system. These substances can clog wastewater pipes, leading to sewage spills and back-ups.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Grease Control Policy requires that all businesses with commercial kitchens or food operations have a grease interceptor that removes fats, oils and grease in wastewater. The policy applies to restaurants, motels, hotels, cafeterias, hospitals, schools, nightclubs, delicatessens, butcher shops, bakeries, bagel shops, coffee shops, ice cream shops, grocery stores, gas stations, and any other business involved in commercial food preparation that discharge into the collection system for Winston-Salem.

It is the duty and responsibility of the City/County Utilities to prevent the excessive introduction of grease into the sewer system and the wastewater treatment plants. This policy is designed to implement and enforce the grease discharge rules of the Sewerage System Policy Resolution.

The intent of this policy is to ensure compliance with the Commission's Pretreatment Program, as contained in the Sewer Use Resolution; the rules and regulations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and to protect the City's infrastructure as it relates to the sanitary sewer collection and treatment system.

The accumulation of grease within the sewer lines increase the potential to cause sewer blockages, which in turn can cause overflows, which potentially degrade the quality of local surface waters. Blockages may also cause sewer to back-up into business establishments, or homes, and can cause extensive damage. Grease can be discharged to the sewer system from several sources, including Food Service Establishments. In order to reduce sewer blockages, Food Service Establishments in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area that discharge wastewater that contains grease must install and maintain a grease trap or interceptor. These establishments include any institutional food service or business that serves food or is involved in food preparation services.

Each year, there are more than 15,000 sewer overflows in North Carolina. Many of these overflows are directly related to the improper disposal of oil and grease in kitchen drains. Grease congeals in sewer pipes, which causes wastewater to flow back into businesses and homes or directly into waterways.

Grease interceptors are designed to separate out the Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) and solids normally found in food preparation waste from the rest of the wastewater being discharged to the city’s sanitary sewer system. The FOG and solids have to be removed on a regular basis in order for the grease interceptors to work properly. Our Grease Control Policy requires that food service establishments have their grease interceptor cleaned once a month and file a report certifying that it has been serviced.

All food service establishments are required to install grease interceptor(s). Grease interceptors are sized based on the type and number of water fixtures required by the Health Department. First, contact your Health Department for specific information. The Forsyth County Health Department contact is Michelle Kirkely at 336-703-3129.

Helpful Contacts and Links:

Grease Control Policy 11/14/2011 [pdf/14p]

Can the Grease handout (English)

Can the Grease handout (Spanish)

Grease Interceptor Size Requirement contact City/County Utilities at 336-734-1322.

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