Local restaurants might soon be required to serve up records of grease trap cleanings.
In response to a violation issued last month by the state Department of Natural Resources about a backed-up grease trap that caused a raw-sewage spill in Hinkson Creek, the city wants to require food-service establishments to document grease disposal as part of the Health Department’s regular round of inspections.
The Public Works Department plans to send letters to the hundreds of businesses that would be subject to the proposed new rules.
Some local eateries, such as W.G. Grinders on Ninth Street, are already feeling the crackdown. Health inspectors visited the sub shop but found no one there to open the grease traps.
Although the unannounced visit surprised store manager Justin Kleffner, he understood its purpose.
“We are definitely going to start keeping records now,” he said.
In August, an overflowing grease trap at the Wal-Mart Supercenter near U.S. 63 caused a major blockage in a city sewer line that leads to Hinkson Creek. State regulators found the city at fault, but municipal officials said they plan to hold the retailer responsible for an estimated $4,000 in clean-up costs.
The new round of inspections looking at restaurant records will also include convenience stores, said Dennie Pendergrass, Public Works’ chief operations engineer.
Inspections have found that some food-service managers are not aware of grease traps, let alone the cleaning requirements. Pendergrass blamed a lack of awareness.
“Is it part of their management training? I don’t know,” Pendergrass said. “We just need to get everyone informed so we don’t have this situation again.”