Sarasota County is committed to providing safe, cost-effective wastewater service to commercial and residential customers within our service area. We are equally dedicated to operating our wastewater system in an environmentally responsible manner.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, all regulated businesses are required to operate effective grease traps and interceptors and to pay program fees to support initiatives such as grease trap/interceptor inspections. The goal is to prevent sanitary sewer blockages and overflows that adversely impact public health and the environment.
Newly proposed or constructed, or existing facilities that will be expanded or renovated, must install, operate and maintain a grease interceptor or grease trap according to the requirements of the Florida Building Code.
Any regulated establishments operating within the county prior to Jan. 1, 2020, may maintain existing grease interceptors or grease traps if they are in efficient operating condition.
FOG is an acronym for fats, oils and grease. Food establishments generate cooking oil, grease and food waste that can block wastewater sewer systems and cause them to overflow. Overflowing sewage endangers the environment and public health, and it financially burdens businesses and residents. FOG can also damage equipment that is vital to the proper operation of Sarasota County’s wastewater system.
The most common sources of FOG are:
- Meats, food scraps and baked goods.
- Sauces, gravies and salad dressings.
- Dairy products (milk, cream, yogurt and cheese.)
- Fats, lard, cooking oil, shortening, butter and margarine.
These requirements apply only to facilities located within the service area of the Sarasota County sewer system that:
- Prepare or package food or beverages for sale or consumption on or off site, except for private residences.
- Are described as food courts, food manufacturers, food packagers, factories, restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, cafeterias, lounges, hospitals, correctional facilities, hotels, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, churches or schools.
- All regulated establishments must complete and submit a grease management facility survey prior to commencing discharge to the county’s sewer system.
- Facilities must pay a monthly assessment of $16.67 to the FOG program fee, which will be included in their water and sewer bill. The county will charge $100 per inspection for re-inspections and a $100 fee if the establishment survey is submitted late.
- Regulated establishments must maintain three years (in the form of a logbook or file) of quarterly reports prepared by grease haulers as well as records of all interceptor/trap maintenance. These records must include:
- Time and date of maintenance.
- Name(s) of the individual or company that performed the maintenance.
- Details of any repairs required and dates of repair completion.
- Volume hauled.
- Type of approved additives.
- Copies of either the licensed hauler's receipt or manifest.
- Any other relevant records.
A grease trap is a device that is usually located inside the building or under the sink to collect, contain and remove food wastes and grease from the waste stream. The accumulated grease and other food waste must be pumped at least every 30 days to prevent FOG from reaching the sewer system.
A grease interceptor is a device that is usually located below ground outside of an establishment to collect, contain and remove food wastes and grease from the waste stream. The accumulated grease and other food waste must be pumped at least every 90 days to prevent FOG from reaching the sewer system.
The county may require an existing regulated establishment to install, operate and maintain a new grease interceptor or grease trap or to modify or repair any non-compliant plumbing within 90 days of written notification by the county if:
- The facility is contributing more than 100 milligrams of oil and grease per liter of discharge or any amount that causes line stoppages, buildup of solids or increased county maintenance.
- The facility has a garbage grinder.
- A plumbing or building permit is issued for remodeling of the food preparation or kitchen waste plumbing system.
- The facility undergoes a change of ownership.
- Implement a training program to educate employees on a regular basis.
- Post NO GREASE signs above sinks and on dishwashers to serve as a constant reminder for kitchen employees.
- Always use sink basket strainers to collect food wastes.
- Dry-wipe pots, pans and dishware prior to dishwashing to reduce the amount of material going to grease traps and interceptors.
- Capture accumulated oil when cleaning work stoves and ventilation/exhaust hoods and dispose of as solid waste.
- Recycle food and solid waste as an alternate means of disposal.
- Empty grease containers before they are full to avoid spilling.
- Never dump or wash anything into the stormwater system.
- Eliminate the use of garbage disposals and/or food grinders. These devices put large quantities of solids into the sewer system.
- Recycle used cooking oil through an established, reputable recycling facility.
- Do not discharge caustics, acids or solvents to the wastewater collection system. They can have other harmful effects on the wastewater treatment system and can be hazardous to employees.
- Do not use any chemicals, enzymes, emulsifiers, live bacteria or other grease cutters or additives without approval from the county.
- Have a spill prevention plan and review it with employees.
Sarasota County requires all licensed grease haulers to:
- Abide by code provisions and annual operating permit conditions.
- Obtain an annual license from Sarasota County Government.
- Complete the grease hauler registration form.
- Pay a $200 annual operating fee (annual license is not transferable).
- Obtain the necessary permits/licenses from federal, state and local agencies.
- Use an approved facility for grease disposal.
- Submit quarterly reports detailing the pump-out activities from grease traps and interceptors within the county’s sewer service system that include the number of visits, total volume of material hauled, names, addresses, locations and disposal destination.
- Obtain approval to use any chemicals, enzymes, emulsifiers, live bacteria or other grease cutters.