Commercial Garbage Disposals Banned in New York City Food Service Establishments

Commercial Garbage Disposals Banned in New York City Food Service Establishments

A thriving business community is vital to New York City and its neighborhoods. A healthy economy benefits every New Yorker. But when businesses discharge grease into the sewers, it can cause sanitary sewer overflows and interfere with the City’s sewage treatment operations. It also violates New York City’s Sewer Use Regulations and carries monetary penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. In many cases, the law requires that the polluters appear in court every time a fine is issued.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for maintaining the City’s sewage system – 6,000 miles of sewers and 14 wastewater treatment plants that process about 1.3 billion gallons of sewage per day  – and for enforcing the sewer use regulations. Sewer back-ups are a major sewer system problem that damages property and affects public health. In some areas, back-ups are frequently caused by grease clogging the local sewers. To address this problem, DEP is helping businesses comply with the City’s sewer use regulations, which also include requirements concerning the proper sizing, installation, and maintenance of grease interceptors. DEP is educating not only restaurant owners but also operators of nursing homes, fruit and vegetable stands, laundries, and dry cleaners, among others, to keep grease and other materials and chemicals out of the sewer system.

Food Service Establishments (FSEs) are a significant source of fats, oil and grease (FOG) because of the amount of grease used in cooking. The New York City Commercial FOG Program was developed to assist restaurants and other FSEs with proper handling and disposal of their FOG.  Through implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), these establishments should be able to significantly reduce the amount of FOG that goes down their drains. This will minimize back-ups and help business owners comply with the City’s requirements. Please note that Commercial Garbage Disposals are not allowed for commercial establishments in New York City.

To work effectively, sewer systems need to be properly maintained, from the drain to the treatment plant. If wastes are disposed of correctly, the City’s sewer system can handle them without any problem. Grease is an example of a waste that the sewer system cannot handle, and therefore should not be put down the drain. The City needs businesses and individuals to do their part to maintain the system because repeated repairs are disruptive to residences and businesses alike. Furthermore, proper disposal by commercial establishments is required by law.

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