The Union Recorder

January 16, 2014

City adopts food waste treatment ordinance

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The City of Milledgeville added an ordinance setting minimum and uniform requirements for the treatment and disposal of commercial waste into the sanitary sewer system at Tuesday's regular City Council meeting.

The city can now “exercise its authority over the main components of the program, which are the proper sizing, installation and maintenance of grease interceptors.”

The new “Chapter 91” entitled Food Service and Food Preparation Recovery System main objective is to “minimize the introduction of fats, oils and greases (FOG) into the City of Milledgeville wastewater collection system.”

City Manager Barry Jarrett said the ordinance falls under the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) standards.

Excessive amounts of fats, oils, grease, grit, sand and other viscous materials can create blockages and obstruction in a sewer system causing untreated wastewater to flow into the environment.

Much of this waste material originates from food preparation and vehicle maintenance facilities, according to the ordinance.

The interceptor or grease trap separates waste material from wastewater flow with a containment area designed to collect, contain or remove food wastes prior to sewer system discharge.

Under the document, food service establishments such as but not limited to restaurants, cafeterias, public and private institutions, convenience stores, grocery stores, hospitals, schools and prisons would fall under the ordinance.

The ordinance applies to any facility or person that generates, removes, processes, or accepts commercial waste for final disposal.

All new food service facilities must install interceptors with city-approved specs. After city inspection, those lacking the proper device will have 90 working days to come in compliance.

Existing commercial facilities shall be required to install device when any of the following exist:

• facilities are found to contribute FOG quantities sufficient enough to cause line stoppages or increased collection system maintenance;

• remodeling of the food preparation or kitchen waste plumbing facility; or

• facility changes ownership.

Along with timely service and maintenance for the grease traps such as complete pump out and adequate disposal, city establishments must report any spills.

Per this Chapter 91 ordinance, failure to notify the city of a spill constitutes a violation and fines may be assessed to the commercial waste originator as well as the transporter.

A FOG inspector will inspect all food service, maintenance, service facilities and car washes at least once yearly. These visits can be scheduled or unannounced. 

Failure to correct any poor FOG interceptor issues within the 10 working days detailed in the ordinance could result in hearing to show “cause why water and/or wastewater service should not be suspended immediately.”

The city could impose up to a $1,000 penalty for each violation of the waster handling and pretreatment provisions of the ordinance.