Strong Waste Program

Restaurants and other businesses produce wastewater that has more fats, oils and greases than the waste generated by a normal household. Hanover County defines strong waste as wastewater that has biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) greater than 250 milligrams per liter, or total suspended solids (TSS) greater than 250 milligrams per liter. It is usually found in:
  • Commercial kitchens
  • Convenience stores
  • Large office buildings with cafeterias
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
If you are a business that discharges strong waste, you'll see an additional charge on your sewer bill to cover the costs associated with transporting and treating your wastewater.

How to Reduce Your Charges

  • Do not pour grease down sink drains
  • Use sink and dishwasher strainers to capture food
  • Dry-wipe greasy cookware prior to cleaning
  • Put leftover food into trashcans instead of washing it down the drain
  • Clean and maintain existing grease traps and grease interceptors regularly
  • Do not locate deep fryer drains next to a floor drain
  • Limit the use of in-sink garbage disposals
  • Make sure plumbing from the food preparation area diverts to a grease interceptor or grease trap
  • Properly maintain grease interceptors and traps. Grease traps and interceptors are important because they remove grease from wastewater so it does not enter the sewer. Internal grease traps are less expensive but trap less grease. External grease inceptors are more expensive to install but trap more grease and need to be cleaned less frequently. Follow these cleaning tips:
    • Each grease trap and interceptor should be cleaned at least twice a year.
    • Do not flush pipes with hot water or use drain cleaners, enzymes, emulsifiers or bacteria agents. This only pushes the grease deeper into the sewer pipes where it becomes more expensive and difficult to remove.
    • Grease removed from the traps and interceptors should be stored in a watertight container and disposed of properly.
    • Small grease traps can be cleaned by hand; larger grease traps may need to be cleaned by a professional company.


Public Utilities will periodically sample to determine the BOD and TSS concentrations of your wastewater. The results of this testing determine if your business is subject to a strong waste surcharge.

If we determine that your business has the potential to discharge strong waste but it is not possible to sample your wastewater, we will determine a surcharge based on the characteristics of wastewater from similar businesses that can be sampled.