FOG Frequently Asked Questions


What locations does the new City Ordinance pertain to?

  • All current and future Food Service Establishments, including restaurants, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other facilities from which grease can be expected to be discharged, are required to have a grease trap or interceptor which must be maintained and kept effective and efficient.

Is there a charge for the Fats, Oils, and Grease Permit?

  • A fee of $150.00 will be charged annually by the City of New Bedford to all Food Service Establishments to which the permit applies.  The fee will be added to the water bill each year.  The permit is valid for three years.

What are some of the sources of Fats, Oils, and Grease?

  • Fatty foods, cooking oils, residual food debris, kitchen utensils, dinnerware, deep fryers, leftovers, and sauces are all sources of FOG that end up in the City’s Sanitary Sewer Collection System if they are not disposed of properly or discharged into a grease trap or interceptor.

How often must grease traps/interceptors be maintained?

  • Per MA DEP 310 CMR 15.351 (2) and City Ordinance Chapter 16, Article II, Section 37, all grease traps/interceptors must be inspected at least once per week. All grease traps/interceptors must be emptied & cleaned at least once every month, or when the level of FOG or sludge reaches 25% of the effective depth, whichever comes first.

Are Food Service Establishment employees ever allowed to inspect and clean grease traps/interceptors?

  • Yes, establishments with small, less than 75 gallon, under-sink grease traps are permitted to do weekly self-inspections and cleanings, but only after the manager or owner has reviewed, agreed to, and returned the signed acknowledgement sheet of Best Management Practices of the Department of Public Infrastructure FOG Program. In addition to the self-inspections/cleanings, an annual professional cleaning and inspection must be done by a licensed hauler who is permitted by the City of New Bedford Health Department.

How long should maintenance logs be kept?

  • Logs for all cleaning, inspections, hauling, and maintenance, both self-inspections done by Food Service Establishment owners/employees and those from the grease hauler, must be kept on file for three years. They should be available upon request during inspections.

What documentation should be kept for inspections and for how long?

  • Grease trap inspection logs, grease trap cleaning logs (including all receipts from septic haulers and records of self-cleaning, if applicable), grease disposal records, materials for of employee training in Best Management Practices to reduce disposal of grease, and records of employee training, including dates, should all be kept for 3 years.

Is any training required for employees?

  • All Food Service Establishment employees need to be trained in the maintenance and cleaning of FOG traps and interceptors.  A training log should be available upon request during inspections, and kept with all maintenance logs for three years.

What should be done if a Food Service Establishment will be closed for an extended period of time?

  • If an establishment will be closed for more than 30 days, it is exempt from the normal maintenance and inspection schedule. Traps and interceptors must be checked and cleaned before the closure date.  Upon reopening, they must be cleaned again and inspected to prove functionality of the system.  Proof of closure and approval from the FOG Division of DPI and the DPI Commissioner is required for this exemption.

What should be done if a Food Service Establishment will be closing permanently?

  • If an establishment will be closing permanently, the owner must contact the FOG Division of DPI, as well as the City of New Bedford Health Department no more than 30 days after the closing date. All grease traps and interceptors must be cleaned completely prior to closure of the establishment.

How often will an inspector from the City of New Bedford inspect traps and interceptors at a Food Service Establishment?

  • Inspections will be done at least once a year; however, the city may inspect any establishment as often as is deemed necessary under the authority of the Commissioner of the Department of Public Infrastructure.

Will inspections be done again if a violation is found?

  • If a violation is found during the initial inspection or sampling, the inspector will perform follow-up inspections within a reasonable timeframe.

Do grease traps and interceptors need to meet certain specifications?

  • Grease traps and interceptors must be designed properly and approved by the City of New Bedford Department of Inspectional Services before installation, and must meet MA DEP 310 CMR 15.230 standards.

What else does a Food Service Establishment need to remain in compliance?

  • All Food Service Establishments need clean-up spill stations/kits with grease absorbent pads, and at all times at least one employee on duty must be trained in cleanup and maintenance when the establishment is in operation.

Can chemicals be used instead of a grease trap or interceptor?

  • Per MA DEP 360 CMR 10.017 (2) unless a written request is approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Infrastructure, chemical, biological, or physical means cannot be used on Fats, Oils, and Grease to bypass a trap or interceptor.

Who can be contacted for further information or additional questions?

  • The Department of Public Infrastructure FOG Division can be reached at (508) 979-1550.