Arizona City Code Strengthens Grease Interceptor Enforcement

Arizona City Code Strengthens Grease Interceptor Enforcement

Pouring oil down the drain isn’t just bad for your pipes. It can also damage the local sewer system. Commercial kitchens in an Arizona city who deal with fats, oils or greases have to be more careful as well.

The Bullhead City Council approved a code amendment to strengthen protection for the City’s sewer system.

“We needed something with a little more meat to it to allow us to enforce our requirements,” the Utilities Director said.

Among the notable changes are regulations for gravity grease interceptors, emergency pumping costs and criminal enforcement for violations.

About 150 to 200 local business will be impacted by the code amendment.

Although the city already had FOG regulations on the books, the Utilities Director said the ordinance had only been enforced for about three years, starting with the city’s takeover of the EPCOR water system.

Most businesses had been amenable to following the regulations, the Utilities Director said, but about 20 were still causing issues and five were still causing serious issues.

One example given of damage caused by improper FOG disposal were pumps destroyed by grease.

“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year replacing these pumps because of this type of damage. It damages them so badly that they can’t be rebuilt,” the Utilities Director said.

The City will also provide, at cost to the business, grease interceptor pumping when necessary. The Utilities Director assured council it would only be on an emergency basis and not a regular service offered by the city.

Although there is no set fee schedule in the ordinance, the criminal enforcement means the City can seek remuneration for any damages caused by a violation.

Related to the wastewater system, council approved an operations plan for the system, a requirement from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

“This is an item we should have had in place a while ago,” the Utilities Director said.

Although the actual operations are more complex than what is in the finalized document, the Utilities Director said it was acceptable due to incorporating by reference other manuals and procedures used by the City.

If you’d like to keep food debris from clogging your grease interceptor so you won’t need to have it pumped out as often, consider installing The Drain Strainer.

Invented by a former restaurant owner, The Drain Strainer captures food solids that normally clog your pipes and grease trap, while still allowing your sinks to drain quickly.

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