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A greasy situation; Council denies ordinance proposal

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WAXAHACHIE - After the once full council chamber emptied from the swearing in of Fireman Joseph Dawson, the greasy debate began. 

Waxahachie Director of Utilities David Bailey presented council with a proposed Fats, Oils and Grease Ordinance to establish the capture and removal criteria for non-residential establishments connected to the city sanitary sewer collection system that generates fats, oils and greases as a result of food manufacturing, processing, preparation or food service. 

“FOG is one of the leading causes of sewer stoppages and unauthorized sanitary sewar overflow, causing operational issues at the wastewater treatment plant,” said Bailey.

“We currently have to vacuum out and dry the grease.”

The city has educated over 16,000 customers in the area on the harms of grease since the city made an agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2008 for more educational efforts.

“We have been successful in area restaurants educating them on the harm they could be doing [by not properly cleaning their grease traps]” said Bailey.

Grease is normally the result of cooking by-products. 

Grease build up can occur from the following products:

· Meat Fats

· Cooking Oil

· Mayonnaise

· Butter & Margarine

· Sauces

· Food Scraps

Garbage disposal units, while grinding scraps into smaller pieces, do not prevent grease entering the pipeline.

Councilman Mark Singleton said the “honest system” isn’t going to work. 

“You don’t have the manpower or the budget to check to see if all 154 restaurants you said are in the city have properly cleaned out their grease traps,” said Singleton. 

“Punitive nature, good financial consequences, of not following the procedure would work.” 

“Attack the abusers, keep it simple” said Singleton. 

The proposed ordinance on the table, 11 pages of government suggested code, was not wanted. 

“I would just like to see us [government] get out of people’s lives so much,” said Mayor Pro Tem John Wray.

“I was hit with red tape recently on my small four to five employee business with unnecessary government regulation-not city related- but somewhere, this just has to stop and it needs to stop at the smaller government.”

Bailey told council the city currently has “hot spots” they know are problem areas every 30 days.

“I know it’s a problem, we just need to find something less burdensome,” said Wray.

Council agreed via a 4-1 vote to have Bailey come back and present council with more options along with a more short and simple resolution. 

Councilman Chuck Beatty was the lone opposing vote.


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