Cheeseburger grease clogs up local sewers!

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Grease from your favorite cheeseburger restaurant isn't just clogging your arteries, it's filling up our local sewers.

The old saying is true: what goes in, must eventually come out.

Beyond the hustle and bustle of the Tri-Cities' newest restaurant, there is a slippery, smelly situation unfolding in Kennewick.

"You take 30, 40 restaurants that have grease problems and throw it into the city and that's a huge burden to the city of Kennewick," says Shane Markell, a local restaurant owner.

Each year, Kennewick's restaurants produce tens of thousands of pounds of grease. It's led to clogged sewers, sludge-filled water, and a smelly, disgusting situation for anyone nearby.

In 2011, Kennewick spent more than $120,000 in taxpayer dollars to cleanup the sludge. That money doesn't come easily. It's the reason why the city cracked the whip on messy restaurants.

Every Kennewick restaurant is now required to have holding area for grease. The goal is get rid of the excess safely, instead of having it seep into our neighborhoods. A year later, more than 100 restaurants are on board.

"Nobody wants to get a sewer backup, because you'd have the health department here," Markell tells KEPR.

The amount of grease in our sewers has been cut by a quarter in the last year. That's saved $30,000; roughly a quarter of the initial investment.

Businesses have three years to install grease traps. After that, they'll be fined.