FORT SMITH (KFSM)—The city’s utilities department is hosting informational meetings about the ordinance that regulates the fats, oils and grease that businesses can put down the drains.
The FOG ordinance was adopted by the city in December 2016, but the city is educating the community about it first.
“What the fats, oil and grease program and ordinance do is basically keep the FOG as we call it out of the lines as the fats oils and grease are discharged such as bacon fat,” Deputy Utilities Director Lance McAvoy said.
Hari Paizi is the owner of Paizi's Gyros restaurant. He said he is already doing everything that complies with the ordinance. He inherited a 200 gallon grease trap when he moved into his building on 4900 Rogers Avenue.
“I think it's very important to keep the grease off the sewers,” he said.
He said the FOG ordinance is a no-brainer.
“I think every conscientious restaurateur will tell you that protecting the environment and preventing the grease of the restaurant from going into the sewer of the city is something that we should be concerned [about],” Paizi said.
Sources of FOG include butter, baking goods, salad dressing, dairy products, shortening, condiments, meat fats, lard, sauces, coffee (with creamer) and other food scraps. When these go down the drain, they stick to the pipes closing it off. It’s comparable to cholesterol clogging your arteries, according to McAvoy.
“That leads to the sanitary sewer overflows,” he said.
Right now the city is hosting informational meetings about the ordinance before they send surveys out in the mail. They are asking food service/processing establishments, which includes schools and nursing homes, to first fill out that survey and eventually a permit application. Permits will not cost the restaurant owners any money.
The city also wants to make sure every business that produces FOG has a grease trap or interceptor. Businesses will also have to document that these are properly maintained.
“That's actually been around since 1951, so all we're doing is helping to enforce the state law,” McAvoy said.
He said the main goal is to keep FOG out of lines and reduce sanitary overflows.
City officials said it won’t be until June or July before the permits are distributed.
The next informational meeting is Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m. at the Elm Grove Community Center Oak Room.