Keep our sewer system fat, oil and grease free – for restaurants

Not everything that goes into Guelph’s sanitary sewer system will make its way to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Fats, oils, and grease that are poured down the drain, sink or flushed down the toilet can stick to your restaurant’s and City’s sewer pipe.

When grease enters the sanitary sewers through poorly maintained grease interceptors and/or traps, or the absence of them, it can accumulate causing sewage backups and overflows that can cause health hazards, damage to businesses, and may impact the natural environment.

Improve how your restaurant handles fat, oil and grease

We’re here to help! Our Environmental Protection Officers (EPOs) provide free, one-on-one visits with restaurant owners and managers to help identify where improvements can be made and how to better handle fat, oil and grease.

What your one-on-one visit with our Environmental Protection Officers will include:

  • A review of your current setup and procedures at your restaurant
  • Educational information and best practices on how to effectively and safely manage fat, oil and grease
  • Customized solutions and recommendations for improvements

For more information, contact Phil McIntyre, Supervisor of Laboratory Services & Environmental Compliance at

Where does the grease come from?

greasystuffGrease is a common by-product of cooking and is found
in items such as:

  • Butter and margarine
  • Cooking oil
  • Dairy products
  • Food scraps
  • Lard and shortening
  • Meat fats
  • Sauces

What are the results of a sewer blockage from your business?

A sewer blockage caused by grease accumulation in your home’s sewer pipes may result in:

  • Raw sewage overflowing into your restaurant or neighbouring businesses
  • Raw sewage overflowing into streets, parks, and bodies of water
  • Restaurant and any business upstream of the blockage may be closed by a Public Health Inspector until water can be used again
  • An expensive cleanup that often must be paid by the restaurant, business or building owner
  • A penalty or fine under the City of Guelph’s Sewer Use By-law (1996)-15202 up to a maximum of $100,000.
  • Potential exposure to disease-causing organisms

Where does the grease go?

If you are cleaning the grease trap/interceptor out yourself, follow the owner’s manual, scoop out the solidified grease portion on the top and place in the garbage for disposal. Place the liquid portion in a sealable container to be picked up by a licensed and certified contractor.

Used cooking oil can be recycled and storage bins can be obtained from cooking oil recyclers. These bins are kept outside and the used oil poured in them as required.

Make sure bins are always covered and secured, and away from any storm sewer drains. If there is a grease spill near the bin, report it immediately. Use a dry oil absorbent material and sweep it into the garbage once it has soaked up all the oils. Do not hose the spilled material to the storm sewer.

What is a grease interceptor and what do I do with it?

Typical passive grease trap

Typical passive grease trap

Grease traps and interceptors are containment units designed to trap grease, oil, solids, and other debris.They prevent these substances from getting into the sanitary sewer system where they could restrict sewer flow and eventually block the entire pipe.

Under the Ontario Building Code grease interceptors are required anywhere food is cooked, processed or prepared.

Check the grease trap once a week to determine how often it needs to be cleaned. Grease traps and interceptors need to be properly sized, installed and most importantly maintained as set out under the CSA standard – Maintenance of Grease Interceptors.

There are several companies that are certified and licensed to remove waste. Keep a logbook and receipts of all cleanouts, either by you or a contractor.

DOs and DON’T’s

What you should do

  • Place screens over drains and never put solids down sink drains
  • Use a paper towel to wipe grease from dishes and pots
  • Recycle used oils and greases. Use a fat, oil and grease recycling container/contractor
  • Scrape solidified grease and food scraps from your plates, utensils, pots, pans, food
    preparation and cooking areas and place into the green (organic waste) bag or cart for weekly disposal on your regular collection day or recycling container
  • Train employees on how to dispose of fats, oils and grease properly

What you shouldn’t do

  • Pour grease down the sink drains or toilets
  • Wash grease down sink drains
  • Pour grease into a garbage dumpster
  • Hose fats, oils and grease to a storm drain

For more information

Contact Wastewater Services with questions (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or to report a spill 24/7: 519-837-5629, TTY 519-826-9771.

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