Fats, Oils & Grease Program


The Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) Program is focused on protecting the community’s sanitary sewer infrastructure by preventing clogs and backups resulting from improper disposal of FOG.  FOG commonly finds its way into the sewer system through drains, toilets, and dishwashers from homes, restaurants, and businesses. When FOG enters the sewer lines, it solidifies and builds up, reducing the amount of flow through the pipes. This can create large clogs over time that lead to sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) causing sewage to back up into homes and businesses, or overflow into community waterbodies.



FOG in households and businesses come from a variety of sources, such as:

  • Baked goods
  • Butter & margarine
  • Cooking oil
  • Dairy products
  • Foods cooked in deep fryers
  • Lard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Meats
  • Pastries
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces & gravy
  • Shortening


Protecting the sanitary sewer infrastructure by reducing FOG is critical to protect the health of residents and the community. It is also important to understand that preventing these items from entering the sanitary sewer system is far more effective and less expensive than replacing damaged equipment and infrastructure, cleaning up unwanted SSOs, or cleaning your home of backflows.  Public support depends on public awareness, so the community needs to know what practices can be implemented to reduce FOG in our sanitary sewer system.  Through cooperation between the citizens in the community, local businesses, and the Public Works Department, a collective approach will lead to a dependable sanitary sewer system.

Sewer Blockages


FOG not only builds up throughout the sanitary sewer system, but within your home’s sanitary lateral as well. A sewer lateral is the underground pipe that connects a residence or business to the City’s sanitary sewer line. If your lateral is clogged with FOG, it is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain.

Homeowners can reduce the amount of FOG entering the sanitary sewer system by using proper clean-up and disposal methods.

  • Let oils cool and pour excess cooking oil into a heat-proof, sealable container and throw the container in the trash. Ensure that the container is sealed tightly before throwing it away.
    • TIP: Continue adding grease and oil until the container is full, and the oil is solidified before throwing it away.
    • TIP: Mix oil with an absorbent material such as coffee grounds, place in a tightly sealed container and dispose of in the trash.
  • Scrape food scraps into the trash. Wipe excess oil and grease left on pans and dishes into the trash with a paper towel before washing.
  • Use a mesh sink strainer to catch food items and dispose of scraps in the trash.

It is also important to follow these tips to reduce FOG accumulation:

  • Minimize the use of garbage disposals or food grinders. These systems allow FOG to enter the sanitary sewer system from food scraps that should be placed in the trash.
  • Do not pour cooking oil, grease, dressings, or sauces down the sink.
  • Do not use cloth towels and rags to wipe or clean oil and grease off dishes. When these towels and rags are washed, the FOG enters the sanitary sewer through the clothes washer.
  • Use paper towels to clean up any spills of oils, grease, or food items containing FOG and throw the paper towels in the trash.

Food service establishment (FSE) FOG

Restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, schools, and other FSEs can be a large contributor of FOG in the sanitary sewer system. FOG may find its way into the sanitary sewer from the dishwasher, floor drains, or a mop bucket. Pouring or washing FOG down the drain leads to the FOG solidifying in the pipes and restricting flow from the kitchen and bathrooms causing sewage to back up into the business or cafeteria.  This is called a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO). SSOs are expensive and time-consuming to clean up and impacts a business directly by causing foul odors, complaints, and may lead to closures. Additionally, per the City of Franklin’s Sewer Use Ordinance (Section 13.04.330), grease, oil, and sand interceptors or traps are required to properly handle FOG from entering the sanitary sewer system. Below is a picture of actual footage from Franklin DPW televising a sanitary sewer downstream of local restaurants that shows FOG accumulation.



In addition to approval through the Johnson County Health Department, all new and renovated FSEs are required to obtain approval through the City of Franklin. New FSEs must complete the Food Service Establishments Survey and submit it to the Planning and Engineering Department at least 30 days before installing a grease/oil trap or interceptor. Renovated FSEs must submit the survey 60 days before opening or the installation/renovation of an existing interceptor or trap. Surveys and attachments can be submitted via mail to the City of Franklin at 70 E Monroe St., Franklin, IN 46131.


Implement the following in your restaurant or cafeteria to prevent FOG from entering the sewer system:

  • 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.
  • Do not put liquid foods like gravy, milk, shakes, or batter containing FOG down the drain.
  • Do not put FOG or food down the drain.
  • Do not wash pots, pans, utensils, etc. until FOG and food scraps have been wiped away.
  • Pour cooled grease into a vendor’s recycling container. Some local vendors include Republic Services, Mahoney Environmental, Indianapolis Grease Trap Services, Restaurant Technologies, or other reputable grease disposal companies.
  • Pour cooled grease into a closable container, seal it, and place it in the trash.
  • Mix cooking oils with absorbent material such as coffee grounds or cat litter. Place in a tightly lidded container and dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Wipe or scrape food particles from pots, pans, and dishes into the trash before placing them in the sink for washing.
  • Wipe excess fats and grease from pans with a paper towel and toss in the garbage.
  • Always use sink basket strainers to capture food scraps and empty them into a trash can.
  • Use disposable towels to wipe down work areas.
  • Collect and empty grill scrapings and fryer vat grease into a grease recycling container.


  • Install and maintain a grease removal device.
  • The grease removal device shall be properly sized for the establishment.
  • Do not allow water over 140 degrees F to enter the grease removal device - water above this temperature will dissolve grease and send it through the device into the sewer where it can solidify and cause a clog.
  • Do not use garbage disposals or, install a solids interceptor after a garbage disposal to reduce the amount of solids in the grease removal device.
  • Recycle or dispose of waste cooking oil using a waste hauler; keep oil storage containers covered and maintained.
  • Install fine mesh screens in all kitchen drains to prevent food scraps from entering the grease removal device and the sewer system. Solids take up capacity in the grease removal device, reducing solids will result in less frequent cleaning.
  • Scrape and dry wipe all dishes, pots, and pans into the trash before rinsing or washing.
  • Post “Dump No Grease” signs above sinks and dishwashers in the kitchen to discourage the dumping of oil and grease.
  • Train employees on BMPs and the importance of reducing the amount of grease that goes down the drains.


  • Clean when FOG reaches 25% capacity of grease removal device and develop a regular cleaning schedule. A grease removal device will not meet performance standards once the accumulation of floatable FOG material and settled solids have reached a depth equal to or greater than 25 percent of the total operating depth of the grease removal device.
  • If grease removal device is too full at scheduled cleaning time, increase cleaning frequency.
  • Ensure an employee or manager oversees all maintenance and cleaning activities to ensure that the device is cleaned out thoroughly and that is operating properly.
  • Keep a log of maintenance and cleaning activities.

For more information and tips for reducing FOG in FSEs, see the materials below:



Why can’t I pour used cooking oil down the drain?

Cooking oil and grease poured down drains can build up in pipes causing backups at home, into streets, and the storm drain system. Proper disposal of your cooking oil and other greases and fats will help prevent a sewage backup in your home.

Can I use my garbage disposal, hot water, or detergent to wash grease down the drain?

These practices won’t prevent grease from building up in sewer pipes. Home garbage disposals do not remove grease from the plumbing system. Hot water will keep the grease in liquid form long enough to enter the sanitary sewer lines where the grease cools and sticks to the pipe walls. Detergents that claim to dissolve grease may cause blockages to occur further down the pipeline.

Can I dispose of cooking oil in the trash?

Small amounts of grease and oil can be placed in tightly sealed, unbreakable containers in the trash. However, it is not recommended to dispose of large amounts of grease or oil in the trash as containers may leak.

How do I reduce the amount of FOG entering the sanitary sewer?

Scrape excess food waste from pots and pans into the garbage after cooking. Wipe pots, pans, and cookware clean with a disposable towel before washing. You can dispose of small amounts of fats, oil, and grease in tightly sealed containers in the trash.

Commercial/Food Service Establishments:

Does my facility require a Grease Trap or Interceptor?

All Food Service Establishments shall be equipped with a grease removal device designed to limit the discharge of grease and oil to the sewer system.

What size Grease Removal Device is required?

  • Grease removal device sizing for FSEs is subject to review and approval by City of Franklin.
  • Small, low grease producing FSEs, such as delicatessens, bakeries/donut shops, ice cream/frozen yogurt shops, coffee shops, and other FSEs with limited cooking that do not contain deep fryers, grills, or other cooking equipment.
  • Larger, high grease-producing FSEs such as full-service, high-capacity FSEs, will require an outside grease removal device.
  • Grease trap and/or interceptor sizing for FSEs are subject to review and approval by the City of Franklin.

Which fixtures/drains are required to be connected to the Grease Removal Device?

All potential grease bearing fixtures and drains (cooking equipment drains, pot sinks, 3-compartment sinks, mop sinks, dishwasher pre-rinse sinks, prep sinks, floor sinks, floor drains) in the food preparation, cooking, and clean up areas of the facility are required to be connected to the grease trap or interceptor.

Can dishwasher drainage be connected to the Grease Removal Device?

No dishwashers are to be connected to drainage pipes conveying wastewater to an interceptor or any other grease removal device. (Note: the dishwasher pre-rinse sink must be connected to the Grease Removal Device).

Why should I maintain my grease removal device and reduce the amount of grease going down the drain?

  • Grease can build up in the sewer system, causing clogs and potentially backups into your business or other facilities in the community. This health hazard can attract unwanted smells or insects, costly cleanups, and even property damage.
  • Clogged sanitary sewer lines need to be cleaned, the more clogged lines the higher the cost to maintain them which can directly impact taxpayers.
  • Less FOG and solids entering your grease removal device results in less frequent cleaning and reduced maintenance costs for the facility.

May I use chemicals, enzymes, or bacteria in my grease control mechanism or my drains?

The use of enzymes, emulsifying chemicals, hot water, or other agents as a grease abatement method is not approved in grease removal devices or drains. These chemicals keep the FOG in liquid form long enough to enter the sanitary sewer lines where the grease cools and sticks to the pipe walls. This has the potential to cause a serious blockage and sanitary sewer overflow.

How often should my Grease Removal Device be cleaned?

Grease removal devices need to be pumped out regularly, on a schedule determined by how quickly they fill. When over 25% of the interceptor is full of grease, the interceptor loses effectiveness; at 50%, the interceptor lets most FOG flow through into the sewer.


Johnson County Health Department:

Johnson County Recycling District

Indiana Retail Food Code (Title 410 IAC 7-24) – grease trap requirements under 410 IAC 7-24, Sections 374 through 380.


Fats, Oils, and Grease: The Right and Wrong Way to Dispose of FOG - Bing video

Fats, Oils and Grease Explainer Video - YouTube

FOG (Fats, Oil and Grease) - YouTube

FOG... Fats, Oil and Grease..... - YouTube

FOG - Fats, Oils and Greases - YouTube