Florida Restaurant’s Grease Spill Flows Down Street
Kevin Thompson of the Palm Beach Post wrote a February 2017 story about how a food grease trap overflowed outside Mulligan’s Beach House restaurant in Lake Worth Florida, causing a sizable amount of grease to spill onto the sidewalks and down the street.
A grease tank trap overflowed outside Mulligan’s Beach House Sunday afternoon, causing a sizable amount of the oily — and smelly — substance to flow down from the restaurant onto the street, forcing city workers to scramble to clean up the spill.
“It’s just a big mess,” said Juan Ruiz, the City’s Assistant City Manager. “It was a pretty good spill.”
Street maintenance workers, the city’s storm water staff and Lake Worth’s leisure services department workers were called in after the accident, which happened around 5 p.m., Ruiz said.
Crews were on scene until around 10:30 p.m., Ruiz said.
The clean up continued today, with crews putting down a cat litter-like substance to solidify the grease.
“We have it pretty much under control now,” Ruiz said.
The city, however, will hire a professional cleaning company to power wash the sidewalks and roads which could take up to eight hours, Ruiz said.
“Some vehicles drove through it, so there are car tracks on certain parts of the road,” Ruiz said.
Traffic was diverted for about four hours on Sunday, said Phil Johnson, Lake Worth Casino property manager.
“Eighty percent of what we saw was water,” Johnson said. “A top layer of grease came with it.”
The restaurant, on 10 S. Ocean Boulevard, wasn’t forced to close, according to George Hart, Mulligan’s owner.
“The tank is outside near the dumpster, about 75 to 100 feet from the front door,” Hart said. “No one was in jeopardy inside the building.”
Ruiz said there have been some discussions about involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because there’s a fear that some of the spill could have seeped into city storm drains.
That decision, Ruiz added, hasn’t been made and won’t be until a final report is finished, probably by late Tuesday.
City Manager Michael Bornstein said Mulligan’s is contractually obligated to keep its grease traps clean. Lake Worth could charge the restaurant for the costs the city incurred, but the city hasn’t decided if it will or how much it will ask for, Bornstein said.
“Any restaurant whether on city property or not, we make sure they take care of their grease traps and that they pump them out properly and regularly,” Bornstein said. “This is what happens when that doesn’t occur.”
Ruiz said he has “no clue” how much the City will spend.
Hart said he takes full responsibility for what happened.
“If it’s our fault, we’ll take care of it,” he said.
Hart said the company contracts with Accurate Septic to pump out its grease trap twice a month. He said sometimes the 500-gallon tanks get clogged with debris. Water from Mulligan’s goes into the tank, with the grease submerging to the bottom, a measure that prevents grease from getting into water lines.
It’s not clear when the tank was last cleaned.
“There was no raw sewage,” Hart said. “It’s nothing that will kill you, but it may smell like it will kill you. It smells like the world is coming to an end.”
To prevent food debris from clogging your grease trap before your grease trap pumping service can service it, install The Drain Strainer and avoid the negative publicity from having a large grease trap spill covered in the press.