Getting Tulsa restaurants to keep their grease out of the city's sewers

Monday, February 21st 2005, 2:25 pm
By: News On 6

A new effort is underway to reward Tulsa restaurants that take care of the city's sewers and to encourage others to clean up their act.

The city is pushing for all restaurants to join their PACE program, or Partners for A Clean Environment and to stop flushing grease into city pipes. News on 6 anchor Terry Hood explains how the city is trying to cease the grease.

The city says too much grease in the sewers is a big problem, but has a simple solution. Just wiping down dishes before they hit the sink could make an impact on the health and safety of all Tulsans. Ed Couse recently reopened the Downtown Buffeteria, and says his staff spent 10 weeks just trying to clean up the greasy mess left by years of frying all those chicken fried steaks.

If that grease had ended up down the drain, it could have turned city sewers into clogged arteries. And clogs in the line lead to overflows of solid waste. Graham Brannin with Tulsa Public Works: "It's extremely nasty and it's also a health and environmental problem."

Ed Couse: "When the sewer has problems, we all pay for it, whether it's monthly through increased costs or just through the repair bill. So if it will help, why don't we help them help us?"

The city says step number one is letting restaurants know this program exists. Out of 2,500 restaurants, only about 100 are in the program so far.