Massachusetts Restaurant Could Face Shutdown Over Grease Trap Issues

Massachusetts Restaurant Could Face Shutdown Over Grease Trap Issues

Officials from Bourne, Massachusetts are worried that continuous problems with the grease trap at a local Chinese restaurant in Buzzards Bay may put their new sewer machinery in danger.

Additional worries have been raised regarding the potential harm that grease released from the Buzzards Bay restaurant may cause to Wareham’s wastewater treatment facilities.

A meeting of the Board of Sewer Commissioners included a discussion of the ongoing problems with the grease trap at the restaurant. The Town Engineer, informed the Sewer Board that after the Department of Public Works contacted his office, his office inspected the restaurant’s grease traps.

They believed there to be some oil buildup, according to the Town Engineer. “We went over there and took a look inside the pump chamber, and there was grease on the chains in the pump and on a lot of the pit’s components,” the Town Engineer said.

Grease traps are plumbing fixtures used to collect fats, oils, and grease before they enter the sewer system. Internal grease traps must be cleaned periodically, according the town’s sewer standards.

External grease traps, or equipment outside the building, must be checked weekly and pumped whenever they fill to 25% of their capacity or more frequently than every three months.

A Health Inspector said she also took part in the examination of the grease traps at the Way Ho. She said that the 2,000-gallon subsurface tank under the company’s parking lot serves as the exterior grease trap.

She claimed that several inches of grease were caked onto the exterior grease trap. According to the Health Inspector, pipes joining the grease trap and going to the sewer system are similarly covered in solidified grease.

“It’s not good if what we discovered inside that old subsurface grease trap is any indication of the state of the old sewer lines that connect to the new infrastructure,” she added.

The new pumps and sewer pipes were put in as part of a project to replace manholes next to the restaurant. The $1 million project, which is being paid for using money from the American Rescue Plan Act, is still unfinished, the Town Administrator informed the board.

She answered, “We haven’t acquired control of these pumps yet. “We have problems with their performance, but the contractor or the pump maker will be aware of the grease we currently have. There will be accusations made against us for causing harm to our own system.”

Similar worries regarding the restaurant’s inadequate grease trap maintenance were voiced at an earlier meeting. For operating a grease trap without a fats, oils, and grease maintenance plan, the Sewage Commissioners at the time approved a $50 per day violation cost.

After a month, the Sewer Board decided to follow the former DPW Director’s recommendation and forgo fining restaurant owner. The restaurant owner had assured the former DPW Director that he would be adding machinery that could handle more grease and disseminate it more effectively, the former DPW Director said to the Sewer Board.

The Town Engineer said  that it was “pretty obvious that what was installed isn’t doing the job needed to be done.”

“We require the owner to clean out their external grease trap.” he stated. “Their entire system has evidence of caked grease, and it appears there may be more violations than we were aware of.”

A resident of Buzzards Bay who attended the meeting said that Bourne might be contributing to the Town of Wareham’s grease problems by sending wastewater to its treatment facility. He advised calling a special Board of Health meeting to discuss the situation at the restaurant and to close the eatery.

“Why is it acceptable for that condition to harm both our own and our partner’s equipment?” the resident enquired. “Every minute you permit them to run, we send more grease to Wareham. How soon are you going to turn them off?”

It was clarified that the Sewer Commissioners, who have the power to convene a public hearing on the matter, were the ones who were being presented with the issue.

The Sewer Board unanimously decided to notify the restaurant owner and schedule a hearing.

If you’d like to keep food debris from clogging your grease trap so you won’t need to have it pumped out as often, consider installing The Drain Strainer.

Invented by a former restaurant owner, The Drain Strainer captures food solids that normally clog your pipes and grease trap, while still allowing your sinks to drain quickly.

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