GREENCASTLE -- Grease accumulation in the city's wastewater lines has been a periodic problem in recent years and one that recently "overflowed," with sewage backing up into residences on Indiana St.
To deal with this problem, the Greencastle Common Council is considering a grease interceptor/trap policy to control the grease that flows into the system. The ordinance passed first reading 5-0 at Tuesday's monthly meeting.
"We've been working on it strongly for about a year. We had a problem that came up in October," Utilities Superintendent George Russell said. "The grease accumulates in the lines. Depending on where it is, it can cause a blockage."
"Grease in our system has been a problem that has come up periodically," said Mayor Sue Murray.
Should it pass, the ordinance would require food service facilities to install some sort of system to control grease flowing into the wastewater system. A "food service facility" is defined by the ordinance as "establishments primarily engaged in activities of preparing, serving or otherwise making available for consumption by the public such as restaurant, commercial kitchen, caterer, hotel, school, hospital, prison, correctional facility or care institution."
Private residences would not be affected.
"This is about protecting homeowners," Councilor T.J. Smith said.
The policy still needs to be reviewed by the Board of Works, and will also have to pass second reading at December's council meeting.
While there are concerns about the cost to the establishments, Russell said the cost associated with a problem outweighs these.
He and City Attorney Laurie Hardwick have already talked with many of those who will be affected. Many already have a system in place, and most support the policy.
"We need to notify everyone and find out who has them and who doesn't. We will try to educate them on what they will need," Russell said.
Russell said the exact needs of facilities will vary. Some may need to have two or three small traps within the facilities. For others, a type of septic system for the grease will be a better option.
He also emphasized proper implementation will not take place overnight.
"It's going to take some time to get it done right," Russell concluded.
Public Works Superintendent Brad Phillips reported this fall's leaf pick-up is going well and is currently ahead of schedule.
"The guys are doing a great job," he said.
The city is reminding residents leaf pick-up ends on Nov. 30. In recent years, the reduction of pick-up time has saved the city greatly. In 2006, the cost to the city was around $33,000. In 2008, the figure was down to $15,000.
The city has also stopped with limb pick-up. The last day to take limbs to the yard waste site is this Saturday.
Saturday also marks a big day for the police department, as approximately 9,000 people are expected for the 116th Monon Bell Classic. This will require extra police both in town and at the game.
Nine GPD officers will be working the game, with the university funding the time worked.
Councilor Jinsie Bingham asked Chief Tom Sutherlin if he could assure the Bell doesn't leave the city limits at day's end.
"We're leaving that up to the football team. If they win the game, we'll make sure the Bell doesn't leave the city," Sutherlin said.