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 Utilities Grease Control Policy (PDF) 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:

  • Bagel Shops
  • Bakeries
  • Butcher Shops
  • Cafeterias
  • Coffee Shops
  • Delicatessens
  • Gas Stations
  • Grocery Stores
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Ice Cream Shops
  • Motels
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants
  • Schools

As well as any other business involved in commercial food preparation that discharge into the wastewater collection system for Winston-Salem.

Policy Information

It is the duty and responsibility of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities to prevent the introduction of excessive grease into the wastewater collection system and 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 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 infrastructure as it relates to the sanitary sewer collection and treatment system.

Effects of Grease in Sewer Lines

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.

Fats, oils and grease are major contributors to sanitary sewer overflows. In the past year, the improper disposal of oil and grease down kitchen drains was a factor in approximately 20% of WSFC Utilities blockages and overflows. Grease congeals in pipes, which can cause sewage to flow back into businesses and homes or directly into waterways.

Grease Interceptors

Grease interceptors are designed to separate out the fats, oils, grease and other solids normally found in food preparation waste from the rest of the wastewater being discharged into a sanitary sewer system. Fats, oils, grease and related 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 interceptors. Grease interceptors are sized based on the type and number of water fixtures required by the Health Department. Contact your Health Department for specific information. The Forsyth County Health Department contact is Michelle Kirkley at 336-703-3129.

Learn more about our Can the Grease.program to help reduce the potential for sewage back-ups in your home or business.