SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield’s Mobile Food Park might soon be splitting up, over concerns that have a lot more to do with water, than food.
The city of Springfield says the park needs to better dispose of its grey water. It’s gently used water that has come in contact with dirt, soap, and in this case, grease. Brick and mortar restaurants already have a way to safely get rid of it, but food trucks are still working out the kinks.
Chef Baldee’s Pizza, a four-year tenant of the food truck park, has a black and white outlook.
“I just want to make pizza and I want be happy. I want to make pizza and make the city happy and make everyone else who buys my pizza happy,” Baldee said.
For others, it’s not so simple. You could say it’s “grey.” KOLR10 watched how food truck owners at the park currently dispose of grey water. They take it from their food trucks to a temporary interceptor, where the grease is filtered out before it enters the city’s water system.
After nearly a year of correspondence between the park’s landlord and the city, Chris Straw, the director of building development services, was called in for enforcement.
“Grease is like unhealthy food. It clogs your arteries. Grease clogs the sewer mains,” Straw said.
He says the temporary grease interceptor on site was approved to be just that — temporary. The city gave the property until the end of August to install a permanent one.
“What was fine on Monday was considered illegal dumping on Tuesday,” Baldee said.
He made reference to the turn of events, including an Oct. 31 eviction notice, not from the city, but from his landlord.
“Do I have a bad taste in my mouth from these people? Yes. Can they make amends? Yes. Have they done so? No.” Baldee said.
Other owners say they’re more than willing to comply with city regulations, but don’t want to pay for a permanent interceptor themselves, for a site they aren’t tied down to. With a lot of “grey” left to be resolved, the black and white reality is that many renters now plan to leave, whether or not they’re forced.
The trucks that plan to leave, all told KOLR10 they have plenty of relocation options. From the city’s perspective, if the park breaks up, their grey water problem is temporarily solved, but the trucks still need to dispose of grease no matter where they’re parked.