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City Council, CPW can now work from a clean slate

Fats, oils, grease issue had entities slogging through public forums

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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Don Milner, CPW Pretreatment Coordinator, describes the hazards of non-compliance with the utility's F.O.G. (fats, oils, grease) Management program during a public forum last Wednesday.

Don Milner, CPW Pretreatment Coordinator, describes the hazards of non-compliance with the utility's F.O.G. (fats, oils, grease) Management program during a public forum last Wednesday.



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Milner shows a photo of an improper location for the grease interceptor.

Milner shows a photo of an improper location for the grease interceptor.



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"They say a picture is worth a thousand words."

Mayor Rick Danner after attending the Greer CPW forum on its F.O.G. Management program. Pictured is an improperly used and maintenance grease interceptor.

Don Milner gave the filthiest, grimiest, greasiest, most nauseating slide show imaginable.

That’s exactly what City Councilman Wryley Bettis had in mind, sort of.  Bettis chastened at Greer Commission of Public Works (CPW) last month for not responding to a previous council request to communicate with its customers and downtown food businesses of the utility’s new grease collection policy, its costs and enforcement regulations.

Milner, Pretreatment Coordinator at Greer Commission of Public Works, and Nick Stegall, the utility’s general manager presented CPW’s updated ordinance to council on May 14 pertaining to the utility’s grease collection policy – F.O.G. Management, for fats, oils and grease.

Milner recommended pumping out grease interceptors every three months. "If its not needed you might want to back off and check it again in a few weeks," he said. Commercial customers will be required to maintain a log when the interceptors are checked and forward the report to CPW each month.

Bettis said business owners he talked with were unaware of the forum the city announced via its council agenda before that council meeting. “People who I talked with didn’t know of the meeting or heard about it too late,” Bettis said. No one from the public attended the meeting and Bettis did not say who he talked with.

Councilman Jay Arrowood added that it was hard to locate the ordinance on CPW’s website.

The city routinely publishes council’s agenda and detailed reports on its website at 5 p.m. the Friday before the Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. meeting.

The reading of the ordinance was tabled and it has not been rescheduled.

CPW, on the advice of its attorney, held its own forum on June 7. Food and beverage businesses were emailed a letter a week before the meeting at CPW. Three businesses were represented – all under compliance – Pour Sports Pub, Wood Mortuary and Greer Dragway. The 13 others in attendance were city and CPW officials. GreerToday.com was the only daily media present.

None of the council members attended. Mayor Rick Danner and City Administrator Ed Driggers did. “One would think someone on council would have been here,” Danner said.

CPW began actively updating its dormant F.O.G. program, in January 2012 and this past January commissioners approved a strategy to aggressively monitor the wastewater and its pretreatment before entering the CPW waste station.

Milner and Stegall said the photos of the grease leaking, bubbling, dripping and clogging drains were courtesy of Greer businesses. Those businesses in violation were not named publicly but have been contacted, Stegall said.

"This is why we have a F.O.G. program and why it needs to be maintained," Milner said. All businesses that produce and serve food are advised to have or monitor its grease interceptors such as schools, hospitals, convenience stores and retirement communities.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” Danner said. The photos, which were not shown at the city council meeting, were convincing in themselves. 

“Council only said CPW was to put on a program to educate its customers and they did,” Driggers said.

Milner also reviewed the penalty structure that offers leniency up to three times before a minimum $50 fine is levied for a Level 1 infraction. A $1,000 fine is enforced only after all efforts and a tiered penalty phrase is exhausted. “We don’t want to fine anybody,” Stegall said.  A maximum $2,000 fine could be levied under the most egregious negligence and a pattern of documented warnings and fines.

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