Following feedback from local food service representatives, Killeen city staff tweaked its proposed changes to the ordinance that regulates fats, oils and grease entering the city’s sewer system.
City staff made its original proposed revisions in a Feb. 4 workshop meeting.
The revisions would give restaurants two options for providing a sample of the grease it dumps: Use a grab sample from an existing grease trap or install a new sampling port at the property line.
Restaurants can choose between a grab sample or a composite sample to determine the surcharge amount. They also can choose if surcharges to the restaurant’s utility bills will last for 12 months rather than six months, which the current program calls for, according to Scott Osburn, the city public works director.
Dwayne Kostiha, operations manager at Austaco Inc., which manages local Taco Bells, and Bryna Schulze, operations manager at Haljohn, which manages several local McDonald’s, presented concerns to the city regarding the proposed changes.
Kostiha expressed concerns regarding the city’s existing ordinance not being consistent, with some food service establishments not being tested. He suggested the city extend the program to include schools and hospitals.
Osburn said the city staff shares concerns of being “fair and reasonable with a system-wide program.” He said the Killeen Independent School District is in the FOG program, and the city is working to bring the hospitals into it as well.
Schulze said she is concerned with the revision that extends the surcharge from six months to 12 months and requested that an establishment be allowed to request a re-evaluation during the 12-month period.
The council, by way of consensus, agreed that establishments should be afforded the opportunity to come into compliance with the city’s standards and request a re-evaluation before their regular annual inspection.
“I think that might solve some of the problems that we could encounter by extending that period from six to 12 months,” Mayor Dan Corbin said.
The ordinance was put in place in March 2010 after the city was forced to pay $900,000 to Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, the city’s wastewater treatment provider, in 2009 for damage caused by sewer grease. The ordinance allows the city to assess surcharges to the food service establishments as a means of enforcing the measure.
Other revisions Schulze expressed concern about is the change in temperature for allowable discharge. The temperature has lowered from 150 degrees to 120 degrees.
Osburn said the change is necessary to prevent damages to the city’s collection system and the treatment plant.
“The high temperature base water eliminates the ability for the grease to basically coagulate when run through the grease trap,” he said. “If you run really hot water, the grease flushes right through; it’s the same thing here. In the event that it’s too hot, it does not give that grease trap enough time to basically do its job.”
Allowing establishments to be reassessed during the 12-month period is the only change the council requested be made to the proposed amendments to the ordinance.
Osburn said additional language will be added to the ordinance stating that establishments can be reassessed up to two times annually per the owner’s request.
City staff will finalize the document and bring it back before the council at a later date for formal approval.