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Any food store, eating place, or food preparer that bakes or cooks food on the premises must apply for a waste discharge permit.
Food service facilities commonly generate fat, oil, and grease (FOG) wastes in the cooking process. Wastewater from kitchen cleaning operations typically contains FOG wastes. FOG wastes can build up in the sewer system, and result in partial or total blockage of the sewer. Blockage can result in sewer backups and overflows.
Federal and state regulations, as well as municipal preventive maintenance costs, are prompting an increased level of sewer system monitoring, maintenance, and recordkeeping. The City has found that while periodic inspection of commercial kitchens helps identify and correct problems, the message about effectively preventing FOG discharge into the sewer system is often lost over time. A permit provides the means to formally convey sewer discharge requirements and the consequences of failure to comply with the requirements. The permit also serves as ready reference to these requirements that can be referred to by facility management and staff at any time.
The permit formally conveys the same items that have been and will be inspected by the City. These include pretreatment system maintenance procedures and maintenance records, and proper handling of pretreatment system waste. The inspector also inspects for records of cooking grease handling and disposal, and other practices that affect discharge of FOG into the sewer system. What is a pretreatment system? An under-counter grease trap and outdoor grease interceptor are examples of pretreatment systems. These are devices that are required to be installed on drain lines that may carry FOG wastes in the wastewater.
At minimum, any kitchen utensil cleaning sink or wok range must drain through a pretreatment system. Pretreatment systems must conform to the Uniform Plumbing Code. A City inspector will provide guidance on this.
The business will be inspected annually to assure compliance with permit requirements. The municipal code authorizes that inspections be conducted during normal business hours and may be unannounced.
No. The City has primary authority over use of the sewer system. The county environmental health inspector typically does not inspect sewer pretreatment systems for proper operation and maintenance. A county inspector will take action on a sewer issue if they determine that the public health is threatened.
Inspections will continue to be conducted just as they have been, albeit more frequently (at least once annually). The Permit provides a more formal procedure to address compliance issues. At the same time, the inspector will continue to work in a cooperative manner with the business owner and offer compliance assistance.
A Notice of Violation (NOV) is issued if the noncompliance has likely not resulted in impairment to the sewer system, such as a recordkeeping issue. There is no fee or fine connected the first NOV. An administrative citation may accompany the NOV for likely discharge of FOG to the sewer and for repeat violations. Follow-up inspection fees may also apply. There are other enforcement remedies available for chronic violations.
The requirement for FOG dischargers to obtain a Waste Discharge permit is new, however, Prior to 2018, staff from Sewer Authority Mid-Coast (SAM) performed random FOG inspections at restaurants and auto repair shops to ensure businesses were complying with Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent FOG from entering the City’s sewer collection system. In 2018, the City assumed responsibility to perform the FOG inspections annually.
The City of Half Moon Bay has a FY23/24 annual FOG Certification fee of $55.
Please complete and return the City's Application for Waste Discharge permit per the on-line link (In process). You will have an opportunity to go over any questions or concerns with the City staff. The application includes questions regarding current ownership and contact information and the nature of your operations including types and sizes of equipment used and a sketch of the kitchen facilities. and signature.
Please contact the City of Half Moon Bay.