Foodservice Equipment Reports

Two Midwest Cities Ponder FOG Regulation

Municipalities around the country continue to deal with a very dirty issue that is bigger than just foodservice: how to reduce the amount of fats, oils and grease (FOG) entering city sewer systems.

City officials in Elkhart, Ind., are fine-tuning a proposal that is less rigorous than an ordinance considered last fall requiring operators to install new grease interceptors or grease traps. After that potentially costly idea worried operators, the city changed its approach. Now, only new restaurants at new locations will be required to have some sort of control device, such as a trap or interceptor. Existing restaurants that haven’t had problems with FOG will not be required to make changes, according to Sarah Mitchell, the northwest Indiana city’s regulatory affairs director.

Elkhart’s more than 300 restaurants still would have to register with the city and allow inspection of their drainage systems, but at no cost to them. Under the prior proposal, eateries would have had to get a $150 FOG Registration Certificate and pay an additional $25 for an inspection.

The new ordinance version also calls on restaurants to implement best practices in dealing with grease; existing operations planning remodeling, renovating or expanding will have to notify the city within 15 calendar days prior to the commencement of the work.

Meanwhile, the city council in Sioux City, Iowa, has deferred a decision on FOG disposal. An ordinance regulating grease-disposal equipment and maintenance on a case-by-case basis, mainly for restaurants, has been held back after the Hy-Vee store chain had objections to how the ordinance was constructed. Discussions are ongoing there.

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