All clear: Environmental health officer Kevin Martins takes a sample of the water at Elbow Beach. Results this week showed all of Bermuda’s beaches were safe under EPA guidelines. *Photo supplied
All clear: Environmental health officer Kevin Martins takes a sample of the water at Elbow Beach. Results this week showed all of Bermuda’s beaches were safe under EPA guidelines. *Photo supplied

Restaurants were given a reminder of the seven requirements they must adhere to when getting rid of wastewater.

The reminder was jointly issued by the Department of Health and the Corporation of Hamilton so restaurants can properly dispose of their fats, oils and greases. This will help minimize the chance of the pollution from the Seabright pipe binding together and form grease balls.

The US Consulate issued travel warnings earlier this month about Bermuda’s grease ball problem.

Methods for proper fats, oils and grease (FOG) disposal are clearly mapped out in the City of Hamilton Council Policy, which is available by contacting either Patrick Cooper at or Ian Hind at or by calling 292-1234.

‘FOG’ is introduced primarily from restaurants that prepare and serve large volumes of food.

Once in the sewer system, FOG can clog sewer lines as it collects and coats the pipes, and this coating can get as hard as concrete. Over time sewer pipe flows can be restricted and the lines can even seal up completely. The restricted flow can cause the sewer system to back up, resulting in a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), where the sewer water flows out of a manhole cover and along the ground. These overflows can then contaminate the ground, the storm drain system and any property that it comes into contact with.

The City of Hamilton Council Policy States: “The improper management of FOG is not only a hazard to the environment and potentially the public’s health, it also results in added financial burdens to both food service establishments and the City of Hamilton. Lines clogged with FOG deposits require cleaning by the food establishment when it involves business-owned pipes and by the City for sewer system pipes.”

The City of Hamilton Council Policy is applicable to all non-residentialpremises connected to the sanitary sewer collection system involved in the preparation or serving of food. It covers effective methods that can be employed at the food service establishments to prevent significant amounts of FOG from flowing through and clogging the disposal pipes. These methods involve the capture of the FOG, and disposal of the FOG or collection for recycling. The City has the authority of requiring businesses to practise these methods of FOG discharge control.

All permitted food service establishments discharging wastewater to the City of Hamilton’s sanitary sewer collection systems are subject to the following requirements:

All permitted food service establishments are required to install, operate, and maintain an approved type and adequately sized grease interceptor. A grease interceptor is a structure or device designed for the purpose of removing and preventing FOG from entering the sanitary sewer collection system. These devices are often below-ground units in outside areas and are built as two or three chamber baffled tanks. All grease interceptors must be approved by the City Engineer. 


All grease interceptors shall be readily and easily accessible for cleaning and inspection. Grease interceptors shall be installed unless the City Engineer authorizes the installation of an indoor grease trap or other alternative pre-treatment technology and determines that the installation of a grease interceptor would not be feasible. The grease interceptor may not be installed in any part of the building where food is handled. Location of the grease interceptor must meet the approval of the City Engineer.


No User shall allow wastewater discharge concentration from the grease interceptor, grease trap or alternative pre-treatment technology to exceed 100 milligrams per liter2, as defined by method EPA test method1664.


All such grease interceptors shall be serviced and emptied of accumulated waste content as required.  Grease interceptors shall be kept free of inorganic solid materials such as grit, rocks, gravel, sand, eating utensils, cigarettes, shells, towels, rags, etc., which could settle into this pocket and thereby reduce the effective volume of the device. The User shall maintain a written record of inspection and maintenance for three years. All such records will be made available for on-site inspection by a representative of the City of Hamilton during all operating hours.


Upon approval by the City Engineer, a grease trap must be installed in the waste line leading from sinks, drains, and other fixtures or equipment in food service establishments where grease may be introduced into the drainage or sewage system in quantities that can effect line stoppage or hinder sewage disposal. A Grease Trap is a device for separating and retaining waterborne greases and grease complexes prior to the wastewater exiting the trap and entering the sanitary sewer collection system. Such traps are typically compact under-the-sink units that are near food preparation areas.


Grease traps shall be maintained in efficient operating conditions by periodic removal of the accumulated grease. No such collected grease shall be introduced into any drainage piping, or public or private sewer. Wastewater in excess of one hundred-eighty (180oF) shall not be discharged into a grease trap.


Food waste disposal units are prohibited from being connected to the sewer. The decision to connect dishwashers to a grease trap will be made by the City Engineer on a case-by-case basis.