New York City has launched a program aimed at the restaurant industry to improve compliance with grease waste hauling and disposal regulations.

The strategy, an initiative of the city’s Business Integrity Commission (BIC) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) consists of two components: a joint task force composed of BIC enforcement agents and DEP inspectors, and a new DEP online video to educate the food service industry on how to keep grease, fats, and oils from entering the city’s sewer system, according to a news release.

 BIC oversees the commercial hauling industry and has noted a rise in the unlicensed hauling of yellow grease, which can be used to make biodiesel fuels. DEP regulates the disposal of grease at restaurants, and inspectors often have found sewer pipes clogged with hardened grease, which restricts the normal flow of wastewater from businesses and homes and can result in flooding and sewer backups.

Currently, improperly disposed-of grease accounts for 61 percent of sewer backups in New York City.

“In an environment where waste has increasing value, particularly yellow grease, licensed haulers need to operate in a market where they can deliver safe and reliable disposal services to city businesses,” said Shari Hyman, BIC commissioner and chairman.