Residents faced with grease fines

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By Ada Lang

Local water and sewer customers could face a FOG surcharge in the future if ongoing grease problems do not stop. FOG stands for Fats, Oils and Grease, and the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District is tired of footing the bill for the problem. 

Pump Station  No.7, near the gas station on SR 24, and pump No. 3, near the Cedar Cove and Fenimore Mill condominiums and the Island Room Restaurant, have had grease build-ups that had to be chiseled out at least three times this year, according statements made by the board.

Water district General Manager Jack Hotaling said that the problem has been ongoing for years, and it costs the district about $600 each time they have to clean out the grease.

There's a company from Crystal River that the district could contract with to clean the stations regularly and process the grease in a special manner, however, according to the board, the cost of paying for the service could be passed off on customers living near the pumps. 

Schrader Miller, property manager of Fenimore Mill Condos, said he “doesn’t believe that his rentals are the problem,” adding that they have attempted to keep renters informed and provided them with containers to properly dispose of the grease.

The exact source of the grease remains a mystery, according to city officials. A study to determine the source could cost as much as $15,000. 

Hotaling said grease, over the last 10 years or so, has been the reason behind clogged sewer lines and backups at the condominiums.

In other matters:

The board voted to add “limitations to customer requests for modification of bills,” for excessive water charges. They include only allowing one request every three years; that no modification can be for less than $5; and that the customer may choose which 31 days of service that they want relief from.