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Food Service Establishments

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Stanford has an extensive program to oversee pollution prevention in food service establishments.

R&DE staff

The program provides annual and periodic training for kitchen staff, and includes inspections of campus establishments to prevent sewer backups, overflows or spills that could contribute to non-compliance with both storm water and wastewater regulations.

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that can clog pipes and contaminate the sanitary sewer system are the main target of the food service establishment wastewater treatment program. The university encourages training and education for all kitchen staff and employees to ensure that best management practices are employed. Efforts such as recycling waste cooking oil; dry wiping pots, pans, and dishware prior to dishwashing; disposing of food waste; and using a three-sink dishwashing sink with water temperatures less than 140 degrees can help to prevent contamination, and save money. The university complies with the Palo Alto Sewer Ordinance for all Food Service Establishment Requirements related to campus operations. For general questions related to waste disposal and composting in your establishment, contact Peninsula Sanitary Services, Inc./Stanford Recycling

Routine sewer maintenance
Routine sewer maintenance

Leftover fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from food service establishment can come from many different sources. Some of the most common sources include oil from cooked meats and fish, gravies, sauces, cooking oil, butter, shortening, lard, milk, cream, and food scraps. When these materials enter the sewer system, then begin to accumulate and will eventually clog the pipes, leading to sewer backups either in the home, kitchen, or neighborhood. To stay in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, FOG products are not to be poured down the drain, through the dishwasher, through the garbage disposal, or toilet because once the FOG cools, it will solidify and begin blocking the drain, instead, dispose of it in the compost or garbage. When FOG is not disposed of properly, it slowly begins to coat the inside of the pipes and restrict the water flow. Chemicals that claim to dissolve grease only move the problem further down the line and are not allowed per the Palo Alto Sewer Use Ordinance.

It is important to always dispose of the grease in the proper receptacle, dry wipe pots and pans (small amounts of FOG and paper towels soiled by FOG can be composted) before washing, and have interceptors serviced on a regular basis. One gallon of FOG poured into a storm drain could contaminate up to one million gallons of water.

Learn More About Why Proper Management of FOG is Important