Aug 4, 2022 - News

Des Moines' grease dumping fee for restaurants set to increase

A photo of deep fried food.

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The fees Des Moines metro restaurants pay to dump fats will increase starting Oct. 1.

Why it matters: It'll help protect residential customers from higher sewage bills, Larry Hare, the treatment manager of the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA), tells Axios.

The other side: But Jessica Dunker, CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, says it will pile on to the difficulties businesses already face, like supply chain issues and staffing shortages.

State of play: The fee increase on grease is part of a larger industrial and commercial overhaul. It marks the first time in more than 20 years that some costs have gone up.

  • The increase will cost businesses an estimated $2.4 million more a year.
  • The new structure better aligns fees with the actual cost of service, Hare said.

Of note: Grease is highly regulated in the more than 2,200 metro food establishments serviced by the WRA because it can clog pipes and cause thousands of dollars in damages.

Zoom in: Food establishments will no longer pay a $50 per visit inspection fee on grease traps. Instead an oil and grease per-pound surcharge will cost about 30% more.

  • Businesses that pump and haul grease waste to the WRA will likely pay about $50 more per truck for disposal, Hare estimates.

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