Elkhart updates fats, oils, grease ordinance

Truth file photo

ELKHART — The Elkhart City Council has approved what Mayor Tim Neese called business-friendly updates to the city's regulations for the disposal of fats, oils and grease.

Neese said he believes the move is particularly important for the restaurants near the Indiana Toll Road exit.

“As food service establishments flock to this corridor and other areas throughout the city, it is important that we have proper guidelines in place to protect city infrastructure, but it is equally important that those regulations be reasonable and consistent," the mayor said in a release.

Since the ordinance was created in 2015, Elkhart Public Works and Utilities has consistently looked for ways to make the program more business-friendly, according to the Mayor's Office. In 2018, the city partnered with the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce on an outreach program to gain feedback on potential updates.

On July 1, the City Council adopted several changes to the ordinance, including clarifying language to make the overall program more efficient and to help local establishments achieve compliance by more clearly defining expectations.

One of these changes includes an updated definition of a food service establishment, or FSE. As a result, establishments with a “Limited Food Service License” from the Elkhart County Health Department are now automatically exempt from the fats, oils and grease ordinance and will no longer be required to apply for a variance.

The city also updated the definition of a "new FSE" to clarify that a change in ownership within immediate family members does not constitute a new food service establishment, thereby eliminating the need for additional paperwork and inspections.

The city’s fats, oils and grease ordinance is aimed at reducing the direct discharge of pollutants into the city’s sewer system, as they can lead to blockages and degradation of the overall sewage collection system.

New and existing food service establishments are encouraged to contact Elkhart Public Works and Utilities at 574-293-2572 with any questions or concerns.

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