Business & Finance

Springfield Board of Health Narrows In on Grease Trap Regulations

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Board of Health Credits: Chip Dickson
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SPRINGFIELD, NJ—Definitions of possible unacceptable grease discharge levels and possible penalties for violations in connection with regulation of grease traps in township business establishments were the focus of township board of health discussions at the board’s meeting on Wednesday.

Drawing upon rules he said came from the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority, which covers sewage treatment in Springfield, township health officer Michael Fitzpatrick outlined parameters that most likely would determine violations under a possible Springfield grease trap ordinance.

The Springfield health body is considering, under the definition of “generator of oil and grease”, “Any business, person or entity that produces, through manufacture or bi-product, oil or grease in a concentration that inhibits waste water flow and/or partially of fully clogs a wastewater pipe, or the maximum daily concentration of oil and grease for non-domestic users shall not exceed one sample of 150mg/L or exceed a monthly average of 100mg/L based up USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) approved methods.”

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To determine a violation, according to Fitzpatrick, “grab samples” would be taken, most likely by township health department personnel, and forwarded to a laboratory for testing. The ordinance under consideration would require a minimum of three samples for a monthly average sampling of 100mg/L.

He added that the cost of sampling, when it is shown levels exceed either the daily maximum level or monthly average will be paid for by the violator “at the cost of the laboratory invoice plus a $75 sampling acquisition fee.”

Under the proposal, grease traps, or the much larger grease interceptors, would have to be maintained and inspected so that they never are allowed to reach more than three quarters of their capacity prior to cleaning “in order to avoid grease flow into the waste water pipes.”

The proposal also would provide for a first notice to all existing township retail food establishments of the requirements of the ordinance when it is passed. Also, all establishments applying for an initial retail food license would receive a first notice of ordinance requirements once the regulations are adopted.

Once an oil and grease generator receives first notice a second notice would be considered a violation with a summons and “payable fine for this offense and each subsequent offense.”

The proposal also would require all oil and grease interceptors to “conform to good plumbing code practice” and “any new or replaced grease traps/interceptors installations shall be submitted and approved for a permit by the (township) construction department plumbing  subcode official.”

Also to be included in the measure would be requirements for periodic maintenance and inspection of the traps, with cleaning to be done biweekly, with a maintenance log to be kept and “readily available for inspection by the Health Officer and his/her designee.”

Additionally, all food establishments would be required to employ a licensed plumber or “professional grease trap contractor” to inspect grease traps and connecting building sewer line when the regulations for maintenance of the system are in violation and “the wastewater being introduced into the building sewer is less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit or when in the opinion of the health officer or registered environmental specialist that the system is not functioning properly, is worn, broken, leaking, damaged or undersized.”

After unsatisfactory inspections under any of the above circumstances there would be a $100 fine for any first violation, a minimum of $250 for any second violation and a minimum of $500 for any subsequent violation.

Fitzpatrick emphasized that he would like to see violations handled at the health department level rather than resulting in court appearances for those pleading guilty. All  fines then would be turned over to the court system. Those pleading not guilty would have the option or arguing their cases in court. However, those with more than three offenses would have to appear in court.

The health officer will review the proposed regulations with the board of health attorney, the Springfield Department of Public Works and the township’s plumbing subcode official before they are submitted to the board of health for final approval.

Board vice president Sandy Harris, who presided at Wednesday’s meeting, said she would like to see a final form of the ordinance presented at the board’s next meeting, which currently is scheduled for November 8.

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