BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. — The Batesburg-Leesville Town Council is considering a new Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Program, which would apply to food service establishments and automotive or industrial facilities that discharge oil.
Why? Officials say wastewater discharges containing high concentrations of fats, oil and grease (FOG) are the main cause of blockages and overflows in the wastewater collection systems.
To address the issue, officials have proposed a FOG management program to eliminate sewer system overflows, reduce the amount of oil and grease discharged into the wastewater collection system, reduce maintenance costs for the wastewater collection system and improve operation of the system.
The proposed program and controlling ordinance would require food service establishments (FSEs) and automotive or industrial facilities that discharge oil to obtain a permit.
In order to obtain a permit, facilities would be required to have a properly sized outdoor grease interceptor or indoor grease trap with documentation of proper maintenance activities.
Fried chicken is a staple at Shealy’s BBQ in Batesburg-Leesville, and so are their fryers. So, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that owner Tommy Shealy says he’s not too keen on the town looking to change the rules pertaining to grease.
Shealy says it’s too much government, and that the pandemic has already hit them hard enough. He says he doesn’t want to now deal with extra rules and money.
"Really we’re trying to be in compliance with what DHEC wants and do the right thing," Batesburg-Leesville mayor Lancer Shull said. "We have had a couple of issues that come up, but nothing major or huge. We do know that pipes in the ground are old, just like they are all over South Carolina, and so these things build up slowly over time,"
The town got an unsatisfactory grade on their sanitary collection system from DHEC last July.
But Mayor Shull said they paused the passing of this possible new ordinance because he knew businesses already had a rough go of things during the pandemic.
"One of the reasons why we put the brakes on it was because of COVID and because of the stress that the restaurants ... we knew that they were under a lot of stress and certainly we don’t want to add to that stress," Shull said. "The importance of this, they understand the importance of it as we do, and once those pipes anytime you put a shovel in the ground, it becomes a very expensive endeavor."
Shull says he believes the cost beforehand will save the expense down the road. He said businesses could expect a change in grease inspections, grease control enforcement and grease traps as soon as the beginning of the new year.
"This is a real good reason for businesses, restaurants to handle their grease on the front end rather than the back end so that you don’t end up with raw sewage coming up into your business," Shull said.