Interview: The purpose and importance of FOG inspectors


Larry Ryder, FOG Compliance Inspector for Dekalb County GA, outlines the county’s FOG program and talks through his vast experience of conducting inspections and enabling compliance.

Key Takeaways:

  • DeKalb’s county is broken into zones, with each zone assigned to an inspector and FSEs get inspected annually – hope to get to an FSE three times annually but this is usually not feasible. FOG was responsible for 57% of SSOs in 2014 – they’ve now reached under 52%.
  • DeKalb’s FOG requirements: 
    • All food serving establishments must have a GCD if remodeling/expanding they’ll need a bigger GCD, and if there are blockage hotspots, citizen complaints, or change of ownership they’ll come back to inspect.
    • Use a permit system – applications must be completed, there must be a proper installation of GCD that is in compliance with the ordinance before receipt of the permit.
    • Interior traps must be metal and connected to all discharge points. Mechanical GCDs are not allowed. The county requires a 30-90 day cleaning cycle using a licensed hauler. FOG must not exceed 5% of total capacity.
    • Exterior traps must be concrete (due to rust) with 2 or more manholes and at least 1000 gallon capacity, but not over 3000 gallons per trap. 90-day cleaning cycle in most cases. Use a sludge judge and mustn’t exceed 10%.
    • Service manifest information must be current and available for 3 years.
  • DeKalb’s inspection process:
    • Pre-installation and post-installation inspections are conducted and a dye test is used in post-inspections. Once successfully conducted and fees have been paid, a permit is issued.
    • Regular, drop-in compliance inspections are performed where inspectors inspect the entire facility. 
    • Inspectors have badges to show as they are sworn compliance officers – likely that if they have to show this badge they’ll have to give a court citation. They’ll issue warnings first for overdue pump-outs and permit renewals. Citations can range from $250-to-1500 per citation or even 30 days in jail. SSOs result in an immediate court citation because it’s a public health issue.