The Regional Water Resources Agency will soon be implementing a grease, oil and grease management program for restaurants and commercial kitchens in Daviess County. The new program aims to help the agency be more proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to fats, oils and greases that end up in the sewer system.
Holly Castlen, RWRA’s director of environmental compliance, told a recent board meeting that the program will be implemented in stages, most likely over the next year to 18 months.
“If we get a phone call from field operations or engineering, in the past we’ve gone out and done an inspection or talked with the restaurant manager, but we really want to be more proactive than that. “she said. .
Castlen said the RWRA will implement procedures and guidelines to help regulate all of Daviess County’s more than 400 food establishments. These will not be limited to restaurants, but will also include school cafeterias, delicatessens and bakeries and any other place offering commercial food service.
“Anywhere you cook or prepare food, they have the potential to generate these fats, oils and fats, so they would fall victim to it,” Castlen said. “The whole objective here is to avoid blockages and overflows in the collection system. “
Under the new management plan, restoration operations will have to purchase an FOG permit, which Castlen says is in line with how RWRA issues other permits, and with that, the agency will be able to certify grease control equipment in catering establishments. Although the cost of such a permit has not yet been determined, Castlen said the cost of an industrial wastewater discharge permit is $ 200 every two years.
“It would be somewhere in that range, but we certainly haven’t set a permit fee,” she said.
Tom Mischel, chairman of the board, asked Castlen what legal authority RWRA has to use and enforce such a program and if there are any state statutory regulations that should be followed.
Castlen said there are currently no federal or state regulations on FOG, but having a FOG management program is something the Division of Water encourages for all public treatment works.
Municipalities in the area that currently use such a plan include Henderson, Bowling Green and Evansville.
Joe Schepers, executive director of RWRA, said that not having an FOG plan is something the agency gets a “little bang” for during its state inspection.
RWRA will use software known as Swift Comply to keep an inventory of restaurants and their equipment. Restaurants will be put on a schedule to have their greasing equipment emptied, and if this does not happen on time, the software will report the restaurant.
“The overall goal here is to be more proactive, not just reactive, when we get that phone call indicating that we have a lot of fat buildup in a particular area,” Castlen said.
Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, [email protected], 270-228-2837