Grease problems add to utility costs, require $3.5 million fix

New funds for a full-time grease inspector and a new supervisor to handle litter collection will come from an increase in one’s utility bill come 2017.

A City of Richmond report to city council indicates staff had expected an increase in illegal dumping in city parks when bi-weekly garbage collection was implemented last year. As such, the city will hire a new supervisor to handle the mess. The city also reported that there has been an increase in illegal dumping of drywall with asbestos from home demolitions after new WorkSafeBC disposal requirements were recently put in place.

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The new staff position will help handle the increased illegal dumping as well as an uptick in visits to the recycling depot.

Furthermore, an increase in illegal grease dumping has resulted in city council upgrading a part-time grease inspector to full-time status.

Total average utility rate increases for households on water meters amount to 2.5 per cent for detached homes, 3.1 per cent for apartments and condos and three per cent for townhouses (not on city garbage service).

The city continues to incentivize homeowners to choose smaller garbage bins and increase organic waste collection.

Garbage collection fees will go up 3.2 per cent for those with the big, 240-litre containers while they will go down 1.7 per cent for those choosing smaller 120-litre bins. Condo owners will be hit the hardest with an increase of 9.3 per cent ($8.10) per unit for garbage collection.

The city expected to see more organic waste collected separately as Metro Vancouver will be lowering the threshold for food waste found in garbage bags from 25 per cent to five per cent.

The city reports that it has saved some money by diverting recyclable materials it collects to a facility in New Westminster. The city had previously been forced to divert materials to Surrey under an agreement with MMBC, a non-profit industry-led group that now controls blue bin collection.

Multi-million dollar fix for grease problem

Richmond’s grease problem has gotten so bad, city council has tentatively approved a $3.5 million project to install a new sanitary pump station and grease management chamber in the downtown core.

“While a number of programs have been implemented to mitigate the impact of grease blockages, including inspection of commercial grease traps, there is growing need for grease management in residential areas in City Centre,” states a report to council.

The multi-million dollar project involves land acquisition, in addition to the new equipment. The city is also expected to review its mitigation efforts to reduce grease in the sewer system.

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