Skip to main content

Regulation of Fats, Oils, and Greases (FOG)

By order of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and in concert with Mass DEP (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection), the Somerville BOH (Board of Health) recently updated fats, oils, and greases (FOG) pretreatment regulations. 

Many establishments discharge waste that includes FOG, leading to expensive blockages to public water systems. Annually a single establishment can produce 800-17,000 pounds of grease! By following a FOG Management Plan, your business can help avoid these costly damages to your business and community.

As required by the new BOH FOG Pretreatment regulations, all permitted establishments will have to provide ISD (Inspectional Services Department) staff with a comprehensive FOG Management Plan consisting of the following information:

  1. Identifying information
  2. Description of operations (seats, equipment, hours, etc…)
  3. Service and maintenance and pumping schedule of device
  4. Disposal, Cleaning or Maintenance logs as proof the device is being maintained
  5. Waiver request or application for any form of relief from application requirements

Complete the FOG Application below and submit it through the CitizenServe portal as a part of your Food License application or renewal. Application must be completed and include proof of maintenance attached (see #4 above and example below). Incomplete submissions will not be approved. 

Information about existing or proposed pretreatment equipment to meet the requirements of these regulations, including drawings and design information must be certified by a registered professional engineer, licensed plumber, or registered sanitarian. Certification must confirm that the facilities and proposed (or existing) FOG management devices (FMD) either meet or do not meet the requirements of these regulations or other applicable ordinances.

ISD may issue tickets for failure to comply with the ordinance requirements.

For more information, please see the links below:

Contact Information
Colin Zeigler
Environmental Health Coordinator
Phone Number

Employee Directory





繁體中文 (Traditional Chinese)

简体中文 (Simplified Chinese)


What does FOG stand for?

FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Greases.

Why is this new regulation coming up now? What are the goals of the City?  

By order of the EPA and in concert with Mass DEP, the Somerville BOH has recently implemented revamped fats, oils, and greases (FOG) pretreatment regulations. This was ordered into response to elevated levels of these materials in wastewater. Additionally, the City’s aged infrastructure could become overwhelmed if proper FOG management techniques are not adopted. 

What types of businesses does this affect? 

Existing and new businesses that will be affected are in two categories Food Preparation Establishments and Non-Food Preparation Establishments that produce Fats, Oils and Greases. 

Is it mandatory? If so, by when? 

For a Food Preparation Establishment to receive an operating permit from Inspectional Services Department they must provide a FOG Management Plan as a part of their permitting process. This must be submitted during the 2023 renewal cycle. 

What are the steps to apply? 

Log-on to your Citizen Serve account, proceed with the renewal/application process and submit the FOG Management Plan Application (along with supporting documents listed in application document). It is that easy! 

What is the fee? What does it go toward? 

The fee is included in the current cost of renewal. These fees go toward the amount of processing time it takes staff to review and approve an application. 

Technical FAQ 

Can I do the install myself or do I have to hire a licensed plumber? 

A licensed plumber is required to install a FOG management device. Check for their license here

If I don't have a plumbing layout plan for the kitchen, is there alternative documentation? Photos, specs, etc? 

Photos and specs are acceptable, but it is highly recommended for every applicant to acquire a floor plan for inspectors to clearly assess the FOG system. 

Does size matter for the traps?

An installed FMD shall have a grease retention capacity of not less than two pounds of grease for each G.P.M (gallon-per-minute) of flow. The interceptor’s rated capacity shall never be less than 40% of the individual fixture capacity in gallons. The minimum size for outdoor devices shall be equal to the maximum daily flow (as calculated using 310 CMR 15.00) over a 24-hour period, but never less than 1,000 gallons.

Sizing Formulas for Large Capacity Grease Interceptors (inside or outside buildings)
(adapted from 248 CMR 10.09 Table 2)

For restaurants: Other Establishments with Commercial Kitchens:
(S) X (GS) X (HR/12) X (LF) = Effective Capacity of Grease Traps and Interceptors in Gallons (M) X (GM) X (LF) = Effective Capacity of Grease Traps and Interceptors in Gallons

S = Number of Seats in Dining Area
GS = Gallons of Waste Water Per Seat:

  • Use 25 Gallons for Restaurants with China Dishes and/or automatic dishwashers.
  • Use 10 Gallons for Restaurants with Paper or Baskets and No Dishwashers.

HR = Number of Hours Restaurant is Open. 

M = Meals Prepared Per Day
GM = Gallons of Waste Water Per Meal (Use 5 Gallons)
LF = Loading Factor
Use 1.00 with dishwashing machines and 0.75 without dishwashing machine.
LF=1.5 shall be used for all Food Preparation Establishments in the City of Somerville


Please submit website feedback using this form. Be sure to include:

A description of the issue (if any)
A link to the affected pages

Thank you for your feedback!