Grease Interceptor Bylaw for the Food Services Sector

Project Updates

The Food Sector Grease Interceptor Bylaw Review process was paused in June 2020 in response to the challenging conditions facing the food sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions improve and food sector representatives are in a better position to participate in this review, staff will engage food sector representatives to understand how planned policy changes might impact their businesses. We thank everyone for their time and effort in assisting us with the Food Sector Grease Interceptor Bylaw Review.

Metro Vancouver is reviewing the Food Sector Grease Interceptor Bylaw No. 268, 2012, which regulates the discharge of fats, oils and grease that are released into the sewer system by the commercial food services sector.

Metro Vancouver is committed to engaging with stakeholders that have the potential to be impacted by changes to the Bylaw. During the Bylaw review process staff will seek input on:

  • What fixtures must, and must not, be connected to a grease interceptor
  • The sizing methodology for a grease interceptor
  • New regulatory options to address commercial food grinders, "digesters" and similar technologies
  • Fees
  • Educational tools  

Consultation Timeline

Beginning in fall 2018, Metro Vancouver will work with food sector establishments and other key stakeholders to seek input as part of the Bylaw review process.

Project Timeline

How Can I Provide Input During the Bylaw Review Process?

Metro Vancouver is offering a number of ways for stakeholders to provide their input during the Bylaw review process including:

  • Small group meetings (including multi-lingual)
  • Online questionnaires
  • A working group

If you would like to be involved in the process, please contact us.

What is the Regulation that Will be Reviewed?

The Food Sector Grease Interceptor Bylaw No. 268, 2012 was adopted in September 2012. The Bylaw establishes sizing and maintenance requirements for grease interceptors and limits on the amount of grease and solids that can flow out of grease interceptors and into sewers.

Not only does the use of a properly sized and maintained grease interceptor prevent fats, oils and grease from entering the sewer system, it preserves the grease in a form that allows it to be collected and treated to extract its energy content through anaerobic digestion and other technologies. All food service establishments are required by law to have a properly installed and maintained grease interceptor.

As part of the Bylaw review process, Metro Vancouver is also considering regulations on food grinders and digesters in commercial food sector establishments.  An endorsement to develop regulatory options for these technologies was passed by the Metro Vancouver Board in 2015. Food grinders, digesters and similar technologies produce high levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS). These can have significant negative impacts on the regional sewer system and the wastewater treatment plants.

Why are Fats, Oils and Grease a Problem?

When fats, oils and grease go down the drain it causes build-up in our sewers. Build-ups result in increased maintenance costs and can cause sewers to overflow, potentially damaging homes, businesses and the environment. Over $2.7 million is spent every year in the region to deal with the effects of fats, oils and grease in the wastewater system. 

Commercial food sector establishments are a major source of fats, oils and grease in the region. The most sustainable methods of managing fats, oils and grease are to:

  • minimize grease entering the wastewater system through implementation of best practices such as wiping greasy plates etc. into the green bin; and,
  • segregate and manage the remaining fats, oils and grease at the source, which is achieved through the use of a properly sized and properly maintained grease interceptor.