Christiansburg becoming proactive on grease problems

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Photos courtesy of Christiansburg wastewater staff
Grease in Christiansburg’s wastewater stream can cause blockages and future problems at the town’s wastewater treatment facility.

As more restaurants open in Christiansburg, there are more concerns about what they might be depositing into the town’s wastewater sewer system. A more proactive effort was unveiled at last Tuesday’s town council meeting.


A program called FOG has been established to deal with any current and future problems.

FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Grease, which accumulates in the town’s collection system, causing restrictions and blockages. This can then lead to difficulties in the town’s sewer lines and at the wastewater treatment facility.

Ryan Hendrix, the town’s wastewater operations superintendent, said grease typically enters the sewer through connections to food service establishments or motor vehicle maintenance facilities.

“Grease is the most common cause of such blockages,” he said.

Since 2010, there have been 23 clogs associated with grease of town sewer lines with the most recent being earlier this month.

According to Hendrix, a large amount of those blockages are connected to food service.

Typically, restaurants use grease control devices, and under the new program and new ordinance, those devices would be checked regularly. The device collects, contains and removes food waste and grease from the wastewater system. Such devices would have to be approved by the town’s director of public works.

Hendrix said FOG program is an attempt to make both the business and the town more proactive in preventing these blockages.

At least 23 blockages have taken place in the town since 2010. Almost all were because of grease in the sewer lines.

“We feel that the presented ordinance is consistent with legal recommendations and will be an effective tool for us moving forward,” Hendrix said.

Each business that deals with grease in their day-to-day activities will be required to have a permit from the town.

A staff member from the wastewater treatment facility will now inspect the food service businesses to make sure the requirements are being followed.

Under the new ordinance, town may enforce violations found during any such inspection, and any business found in violation could face up to a $2,500 fine per day.