The Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) is the owner of the public sewer system serving Costa Mesa, as well as small portions of Newport Beach and unincorporated Orange County. As the agency responsible for keeping the sewer system functioning properly, CMSD is required by the State of California to implement a comprehensive Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Control Program to prevent blockages in the sewer lines that can cause overflows and spills. Sewer spills can end up in the storm drain system and eventually enter our local waterways.
One of the ways that CMSD prevents this is by working with local restaurants (also known as food service establishments or “FSEs”) to limit the amount of FOG that enters the sewer system from their kitchens. Below are the key components of CMSD’s FOG Control Program:
1. Permits All FSEs are required to have a wastewater discharge permit. There are 2 types of wastewater discharge permits:
FSEs with a gravity grease interceptor receive a Regular Permit
FSEs with a hydro-mechanical grease interceptor or no interceptor have a Conditional Waiver Permit
2. Grease Interceptor Requirements
All newly constructed FSEs must install a grease interceptor. Variance is granted for limited space or slope for outdoor grease interceptors. Existing FSEs can operate without a grease interceptor; however, they cannot discharge excessive FOG into the sewer system and they must go through a review process if changes are made to their equipment.
3. Grease Interceptor Maintenance
Gravity grease interceptors must be serviced quarterly and they cannot exceed 25% FOG capacity. Hydro-mechanical grease interceptors must be serviced monthly.
FSEs are inspected at least once every 2 years. FSEs with a grease interceptor are inspected annually, and FSEs that are associated with sewer “hot spots” are inspected quarterly. Hot spots are areas within the sewer system that require frequent cleaning due to rapid FOG accumulation.
5. Kitchen Best Management Practices Training
FSEs must use kitchen Best Management Practices to train employees and training must be conducted once every 6 months.