Cities Crack Down on Grease-Clogged Sanitary Sewers


Just in time for the holiday season, Minneapolis is the latest city in Minnesota to adopt an ordinance to prevent fats, oil and

grease (FOG) from being dumped down drains, which can cause costly clogs in the sanitary sewer system. Clogs related to FOG are often noticed when homes and businesses experience sewer backups because the conveyance of sewage in the neighborhood is compromised because of partially or completely blocked sewer mains.

The Minneapolis FOG ordinance allows the City to charge offenders for the costs incurred to clear clogs and repair or replace public sewer pipes. The law was adopted to dissuade property owners and food businesses from dumping fatty liquids that gel and eventually harden in the pipelines as the material cools. Businesses are supposed to properly dispose of FOG material or retain a service provider to collect and haul the material away. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency encourages residents to either soak up cooking grease and throw it in the trash or pour it into a non-recyclable container and dispose of it with the garbage.

The Star Tribune reports the Minnesota Cities of Rochester, Roseville, Elk River, Bloomington, Golden Valley and Duluth already have FOG regulations on the books, and St. Louis Park and West St. Paul are considering similar programs.

If you have questions about FOG issues and your sanitary sewer system, contact Scott Schaefer, AE2S Wastewater Practice Leader.