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Model Standards for Grease Management

Model standards for municipal governments to reduce fats, oil, and grease (FOG) in sewer systems.

Cities spend billions of dollars every year unplugging or replacing grease-blocked pipes, repairing pump stations, and cleaning up costly and illegal wastewater spills caused by fats, oils, and grease (FOG) in the sewer system. These repairs cost money and may lead to higher local wastewater rates.

To address sanitary-sewer overflows due to blockages caused by FOG, the 78th Texas Legislature added sections (f)–(h) to Texas Water Code 26.049 , which require the TCEQ to:

  • establish criteria for evaluating sanitary-sewer overflows caused by such blockages
  • establish model standards for use by operators of separate sanitary-sewer systems
  • develop design criteria to prevent discharges of untreated wastewater due to blockage from grease
  • consider it as evidence that the sanitary-sewer system or municipality has taken reasonable measures to prevent overflows due to grease blockage if the system or municipality has adopted the model standards

The agency adopted model standards in August 2004. The model standards can help cities create a uniform policy on grease management by:

  • requiring certain establishments to install properly sized grease traps and operate them properly
  • establishing guidelines for how often systems must be pumped and setting up clear procedures for establishments that wish to apply for an exemption
  • implementing a policy on the use of additives and alternative treatment

Cities that adopt the TCEQ’s model standards will decrease the amount of grease entering the sanitary-sewer system, with the following benefits:

  • improved operation of treatment plants and lower risk of discharge-permit violations due to floating solids in the effluent
  • reduced potential for sewer backups into businesses and homes
  • reduced risk of contamination of drinking water that can result from sewer overflows

The TCEQ has developed the "Let's Tackle the Grease in This Kitchen" poster, available in English and Spanish.

View the poster. Camera-ready art is also available, so that you can customize the poster with your establishment’s name. Call (512) 239-3100 or send an e-mail to to order camera-ready art.

For more information on the TCEQ's Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative, visit the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative website.

Where can I find more information and assistance?

The TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance Section offers free, confidential help to small businesses and local governments working to comply with state environmental regulations. Call us at (800) 447-2827 or visit our Web page at