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Re: [GreenYes] restaurant oil and grease

There are 3 groups that I know of that have looked at related issues in some depth: Seattle/King County Area, Half Moon Bay, and San Diego County.

Key seems to be whether there is sufficient wastewater treatment capacity or not.  In Half Moon Bay, in the 1990s they banned commercial garbage disposal units while they had restricted capacity on their treatment plant.  I believe that treatment plant has now been expanded, and don't know if they lifted the commercial ban.

In San Diego County, Rick Anthony did extensive analysis of these issues, in preparation for developing new sewer rates, charging by the concentration of loading on the sewer system.

In King County/Seattle, they have plenty of wastewater treatment capacity.  They did extensive studies in the 1990s on this issue and decided it was OK for people to use garbage disposal units there.

Rick Anthony: 858-272-2905
Half Moon Bay: George Irving, Montara Sanitary District could get you the right person.  George is at 650-728-3545 or <>
Seattle: Jenny Bagby or Henry Friedman at (206) 733-9147 could get you the right person in King County; <> or


At 07:59 AM 10/03/2002 -0700, wrote:

The Long Beach Water Department has produced a brochure for restaurant owners about BMPs for keeping fats, oils, and grease out of the sewers.  Unfortunately, one of their recommendations is that restaurants use disposable paper products instead of washable dishware.  I would like to recommend a change to their brochure, but wonder if this issue of "waste water vs. solid waste" has been addressed somewhere else.  It seems that most agencies are either waste water or solid waste, and very few deal with both.  I tried contacting the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (who do handle both solid waste and waste water) and the gentleman with whom I spoke didn't seem to understand why recommending disposables would be a problem.  His attitude seemed to be that since there was landfill space, better to send stuff to the landfill than put it into the sewer.  The gentleman e-mailed me factsheets that th! e Sanitation Districts send out, and they go even further with disposables.  The Sanitation Districts recommend the use of paper towels so that grease doesn't get into the sewers from washing machine wastewater!  It doesn't require much imagination to take this to its logical conclusion -- single-use everything (clothing, equipment, cars, buildings...), throw it all away.  Come to think of it, that's not a far stretch for what we already have :-(.

My instinct is to recommend that the Water Dept. just  remove any reference to disposables.  It seems to me that following the other oil and grease BMPs would keep grease out of the sewer without adding to the solid waste stream.  Have other agencies addressed restaurant oil/grease while also incorporating an understanding of solid waste reduction?  I would like to be able to put my recommendation(s) in terms to which the Water Department will be receptive.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485
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