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 Surcharge and Grease Program
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The City of Round Rock Environmental Services division implements the City of Round Rock Surcharge and Grease Programs in accordance with Chapter 44, Article VI, Section 44-149 of the City Code of Ordinances.  This ordinance applies to all nondomestic dischargers to the Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System.

My business received a Surcharge Notification - what does this mean?
How is a surcharge determined?
How can I reduce my surcharge?
My restaurant does not fry anything - why do I have a surcharge?
What is a grease trap or grease interceptor?
What if I think the surcharge is wrong?
Can I request a Re-Sample?
Where is my sampling point?

My business received a Surcharge Notification - what does this mean? What is the purpose of the Surcharge Program?

The purpose of the City's surcharge program is to reduce excess amounts of solids and oxygen demanding substances from entering the wastewater system.  Solids and fats, oils and grease (FOGs) can clog the sewer lines, cause sanitary sewer overflows and put a heavy operational load on the wastewater treatment plant.  Sewer clogs, overflows and heavy operational loads at the wastewater plant increase maintenance and operating costs in the system and at the plant. 

The City's Ordinance requires that all industries and businesses that discharge high-strength wastewater (higher than normal residential waste) pay an additional fee to recover the additional costs for treating those wastes.  This additional fee is called a "surcharge."

How is a surcharge determined?

About twice per year, City sampling personnel will collect a composite sample of wastewater discharged from your facility.  The sample will be analyzed for total suspended solids (TSS) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).  The analysis is performed at a laboratory accredited under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) in accordance with the American Public Health Association's (APHA's) Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater.
 
TSS is the matter that floats on the surface of, or is suspended in, wastewater and which is removable by a standardized laboratory filtration device.  The residue retained on the filter is dried and weighed and reported in terms of weight per volume (milligrams per liter or mg/L).

BOD is the quantity of oxygen utilized in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter over a five-day test period at a standardized temperature.  BOD is commonly referred to as "sewage strength" and is expressed in terms of weight per volume (milligrams per liter or mg/L).

If analytical results determine that one or both of these parameters exceed 250 mg/L, a surcharge will be assessed to the discharger.

The calculation of the surcharge occurs by using four items:

  1. Value of BOD that is OVER 250 mg/L
  2. Value of TSS that is OVER 250 mg/L
  3. Average flow from the actual business as provided by the City's Water Billing Department
  4. Lab fee for testing (only used IF BOD and/or TSS are over 250 mg/L)

Please refer to Chapter 44, Article VI, Section 44-149 of the City Code of Ordinances for program details.

Once a surcharge is calculated, a notification will be sent to the water meter owner.  The recipient then has fourteen (14) days to inquire about or contest the charges.  Once the surcharge appears on the actual water bill, the fee must be paid.  The surcharge will appear monthly on the water bill for a period of six (6) months.  After that time, another sample will be collected and the process will be repeated.

How can I reduce my surcharge?

  1. Reduce the amount of food products going down the drain with your wastewater.  If it does not go down the drain, it will not cause issues. 

    • Download the "Let's Tackle the Grease in This Kitchen" poster (English and Spanish versions).

  2. Maintain your grease trap and ensure your liquid waste hauler is thoroughly servicing your trap when it is pumped.  Depending on the design of your trap/interceptor, it may need pumped more often.
  3. Make sure the grease trap is working properly - broken tees or a missing middle wall can cause short circuiting which will allow solids and grease to escape.
  4. Ensure that the liquid waste hauler is pumping the device completely empty.  State law requires a full pump-out during service.

    • Download information on Cleaning and/or Maintenance of Grease Control Devices

My restaurant does not fry anything - why do I have a surcharge?

Many materials such as cooking oils, salad dressings, ice cream mix, concentrated syrup from soda machines, coffee creamer, etc. add high concentrations of BOD.

Any solid material, grit, crumbs, dirt, food wastes, can be suspended in wastewater and can add up to high concentrations of TSS.

Divert as much of these wastes to the grease box and solid waste receptacles as possible.


What is a grease trap or grease interceptor?

A grease trap is a device that is typically installed directly to a sink inside the facility.  A grease interceptor is usually outside in the ground.  Both of these devices are designed to capture excess solids and grease so they are not discharged.  Only food-related wastewater and mop sinks are routed to these devices.  Sanitary waste from restrooms should never be plumbed to these devices.
 
Routine maintenance and cleaning are required to ensure these devices perform properly.

Currently the City does not have a mandatory pumping frequency for grease devices.  However, the City does require proper operation and maintenance to occur and the City does apply the best management practice of the 25% rule.  This means that whenever the solids and grease content in the grease device exceeds 25% of the device, it must be serviced.

When devices are serviced the Texas Administrative Code Title 30, Part 1, Chapter 312, Subchapter G, Paragraph 312.143 requires that the liquid waste hauler pump out the entire content of the device.  The liquid waste hauler must ensure the device is completely evacuated.  Keep a copy of the service ticket on-site for City review.

What if I think the surcharge is wrong?

In accordance with City Ordinance Chapter 44, Article VI, Sec. 44-149(d)(8), the user must contest charges within fourteen (14) days of issuance of the surcharge notification.  After the fourteen (14) days have passed, re-sampling or adjustment of any charges on the water bill may not be possible.  If the surcharge amount is listed on the water bill, it must be paid.

Can I request a Re-Sample?

Yes, you may request another sampling event using the Re-sample Request form.  However, the following re-sampling fees and guidelines will apply per City Ordinance, Chapter 44, Article VI, Sec. 44-151:

Sampling Fee$75.00
BOD Analysis $15.00
TSS Analysis $15.00
Total Re-sampling Fees$105.00

  • The sampling and analysis fees shall be billed to the customer on the monthly utility bill
  • Sampling shall occur approximately within three (3) weeks of request approval
  • There is no guarantee that the Surcharge Fee will be reduced by additional sampling
  • The results from the re-sampling event will not replace the results from the previous testing conducted by the City
  • All results from the sampling period shall be averaged to obtain the final surcharge value
  • The newly calculated fee will then be applied monthly for a period of six (6) months
  • If the surcharge has already been assessed by the water billing department, full adjustment of the averaged surcharge will not be possible
  • Any and all charges listed on a water bill must be paid
  • Download Re-sample Request Form.

Where is my sampling point?

In accordance with the City Code of Ordinances, all nondomestic dischargers shall provide, and the City shall designate, a sampling point. The location and design of the control point shall be approved by the City.  This sampling point shall be free of impediments and easily accessible by City personnel.  

When possible, the sampling point incorporates all flow from the facility.  However, due to the plumbing design of some facilities, a sampling point may be designated directly after the grease trap and after waste treatment has occurred.  This is an acceptable sampling point.
 
If at any time in the future the facility chooses to install a combined flow sampling point, the facility shall notify the City and the sampling point can be re-designated.  A combined flow sampling point is a sampling point that incorporates normal sanitary restroom waste and treated waste from the grease trap.

The City maintains Sampling Site Data Sheets, including a diagram of the sampling point, for each facility and provides a copy to the facility at the time of site designation.  A copy of the current Sampling Site Data Sheet will be made available upon request.

For more information on this program, please contact Michele Risko, Senior Lab Analyst, via e-mail at mrisko@roundrocktexas.gov or via phone at (512) 218-5574.  

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