Archived Story

City to begin grease trap inspections

Published 10:09am Saturday, January 5, 2013

Beginning immediately, the city will be inspecting 54 local food service locations to ensure the restaurants are in compliance with the city’s grease ordinance.

“All food service facilities with a grease trap in the ground will be inspected at least once or maybe more than that in the next year,” City Engineer Gerard Brewer said. “We will be out visiting the grease traps, looking at the facility’s record keeping and evaluating their compliance with grease ordinance. I’d suggest if anybody is lagging, they should go ahead and get that grease trap pumped based on what’s required in their permit.”

Brewer said if a restaurant is found in violation, owners will have seven days to fix the problem, and the city will charge a $200 inspection fee for the second inspection following the seven-day period.

The ordinance, which has been in effect since January 2010, requires some restaurants to have a grease trap installed and for the trap to be cleaned every 90 days or when it is 25 percent full – whichever comes first.

“Since the city got the program where we asked people to install these grease traps, it’s cut down on a lot of the blockages because the grease is not entering the sewer,” said Mike Kendrick of the sewer department. “The grease would get involved with (other items in the sewers), and we don’t have as much of that now.”

Brewer said instances of sewer overflow because of grease blockages has been reduced by half since 2009, when the city council passed the ordinance.

Kendrick also said owners of restaurants with grease traps should remember to get their grease trap permits renewed before Feb. 15. The permit fee is $50.

“We have 54, and only nine had complied by the end of December,” Kendrick said.

Though the ordinance has done much to solve the city’s grease problems within the sewers, Brewer cautioned homeowners not to pour grease down drains either.

“You can remove 70 percent of grease issues when you get the food service facilities on board, but the other 30 percent is the homeowners,” Brewer said. “We can’t require a homeowners to have a grease trap – it’s just not possible. But that would be our big request, for citizens not to put their grease in the sewers.”

Brewer said the best way to get rid of grease is to pour the grease into a can, place it in the freezer and then dispose of it in the garbage.

“One selfish reason not to pour grease down the drain is that there’s a very good chance during the cold weather the grease will solidify in their pipes,” Brewer said. “Then they’re going to have to pay a plumber, and they don’t want to have to deal with that any more than we want to have to deal with it.”

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