City Cracking Down on New York Businesses Without Grease Traps
The Schroon Town Board updated its regulations after cooking oils and grease threatened to overrun the public sewer system and sent registered letters to commercial kitchen owners advising them that grease traps were now required.
However, only two businesses were found to have complied during a recent round of inspections, prompting the board to consider issuing $1,000 fines to those that haven’t.
“We’re not here to punish, but if our sewer system shuts down, then all of Main Street shuts down,” said Board member Roger Friedman.
Schroon’s Chief Wastewater Operator claimed there was a foot and a half of rancid grease in the sewer pipe at one point and explained that this grease not only clogs pipes, but it also solidifies in pumps and electrical equipment which raises their maintenance expenses.
“This is suicide to our wastewater system,” said Board Member Rick Gero.
The fact that so many businesses ignored their official decree is also concerning, according to board members. Schroon Supervisor Jeff Subra expressed his disappointment, saying, “I’m really disappointed. We have to take action, otherwise what we do here means nothing. We’re not helping ourselves and we’re not helping the community.
The board said fines could be tacked on as soon as the first of the new year when the next round of water bills are sent out.
The Schroon Chamber of Commerce President agreed the grease is a problem, but urged the board not to come down too hard on businesses, which are already struggling with mask mandates and rising utility costs.
“You need to be very cautious about appearing not to be business-friendly,” she said. “We don’t want to be perceived as not having an economic development mindset.”
But board members said they have been patient, to no avail.
Subra said this isn’t the first time town regulations have been ignored, and that it highlights the need for a staff grease trap inspector. “This town needs at least a part-time enforcement officer,” he said. “We put these laws on the books and then we do nothing.”
The issue of grease trap inspections has also come up as the town is in the process of passing short-term rental regulations. Subra, who is retiring at year’s end, said that “as I go out, hiring a grease trap inspector is one request I’d have for the board.”
Increased regulations are being implemented across the country as local municipalities comply with federal standards for the Clean Water Act.
If you want to keep food debris out of your grease trap and out of the local sewer system, consider installing The Drain Strainer.
Invented by a local restaurant owner, The Drain Strainer captures food debris that typically clog your pipes and your grease trap while still allowing your sinks to drain quickly.