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Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Program

FOG is one of the leading causes of sewer blockages in the US

The City of Santa Barbara's Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) program's goal is to reduce the number of sewer spills related to grease blockages. In 2014, the City revised its inspection and education program to better inform our restaurants and residents of the impacts of pouring FOG material down the drain. On average, the City’s FOG Wastewater Compliance Specialist makes 560 site visits each year to Food Service Establishments (FSE) to ensure compliance with the City's Title 16 requirements and to educate FSE employees on ways to reduce FOG from entering the sewer system.  These improvements to the program have dramatically reduced the number of FOG related spills in the recent years.

Where does FOG come from?
Many food items can result in FOG production and cause problems for your sewer lateral if not properly disposed of. Some common FOG sources at FSEs and residential properties are:

  • Cooking oil

  • Grease from lard or any source of meat
  • Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, mayonnaise, salad dressings, butter
  • Food scraps
  • Other baking products

Improperly disposing of these FOG materials by pouring them down the drain or garbage disposal can create obstructions in underground pipes and result in blockages or sewer overflows.

Keep Your Drain and Our Community Sewer FOG Free
Here are some Do's and Dont's to manage your FOG:


  • Strain it Out - Use strainers in the sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids.
  • Freeze the Grease - Pour cooled grease into a disposable container, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in your freezer. Once contents are frozen, toss in the garbage.
  • Solidify the FOG - Mix cooking oils with absorbent material such as coffee grounds or cat litter. Place in tight lidded container and dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Dry Wipe – Before you rinse, wipe excess FOG from pans with a dry paper towel and toss in the garbage or scrape food particles from pots, pans and dishes into the trash
  • Minimize the use of your garbage disposal – Foods with FOG can pass the garbage disposal but still get caught in the plumbing and cause a sewer backup.


  •  Do not pour cooking oil, greasy food, dairy products, or salad dressing down the drain.
  • Do not use hot water and soap to try to wash grease down the drain. It will eventually cool and harden in the sewer lines.
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2019
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