ROSELLE PARK, NJ -  An ordinance that would require all businesses to install grease traps was tabled after its second reading on Thursday night at the Roselle Park council meeting. The town has been experiencing problems due to grease in the sewer line.

If adopted by the council, the grease trap ordinance would require businesses to install grease traps outside unless approved by the plumbing subcode official. Former Mayor Joe DeIorio voiced concerns about the locations that the ordinance would require the grease traps to be installed.

“I’m not sure of anyone that has a grease trap that’s actually outside, most of them are inside in the basement located furthest away from any food.” said DeIorio.

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New, existing, or proposed businesses alike will require the grease traps if the ordinance is adopted. All fees associated with the installation will be at the user’s expense. It applies to all establishments labeled as “Food service facilities”.

Section 2C defines “Food service facilities” as:

  • Restaurants

  • Cafeterias

  • Hotels

  • Motels

  • Hospitals

  • Nursing Homes

  • Schools

  • Grocery Stores

  • Prisons

  • Jails

  • Churches

  • Camps

  • Caterers

  • Manufacturing Plants

The ordinance stems from an ongoing problem which Roselle Park is facing with their sewage system. What’s happening is that grease is getting into the sewer lines and physically blocking the flow because it is so dense.

Grease traps are defined in section 2A as “a device for separating and retaining waterborne greases and grease complexes prior to the wastewater exiting the trap and entering the sanitary sewer collection and treatment system”

According to Mayor Carl Hokanson “It’s been a major problem throughout the years where the sewer lines actually get clogged.”

Mayor Hokanson also noted that the grease problem isn’t just in one place, it’s spread out all over.  The borough sends its workers out approximately every two weeks to clean out the grease from the system due to its severity.

Since the blockage is so bad, the cameras used to assess the system can’t even get through it, causing even more problems. The problem has been ongoing for a while now, Mayor Hokanson recalled to years ago when a company from Newark was brought in to remedy the problem to no avail.

Section 3 of the ordinance deals with control plans for fat, oil, and grease (FOG). It states that there will be no “grandfathering” for existing businesses to the plans and that all new businesses would be required to submit them too.

The ordinance is aimed to get record on the books so that when the time comes to evaluate and assess the situation, there is information available.

In other news, the council also appointed its first Indian-American Police Officer, Asvar Patel, to the position of probationary police officer.

It also in a 6-0 vote adopted an ordinance which would prohibit the sale of dogs and cats from animal mills. Animal mills are large-scale breeding facilities which aim to produce puppies and kittens for consumers.

According to the Humane Society of the United States an estimated 10,000 puppy mills produce more than 2.4 million puppies a year in the U.S. Most dogs and cats in pet shops are products of these mills which have less than desirable conditions.  

Cody Louie is reporting this story as part of the journalism program at Kean University.