Grease grace period extended

Published 7:42 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

MURFREESBORO — Thirty days: that’s how long owners of businesses with kitchens will have from July 1 to come into compliance with the town’s fats, oils and grease ordinance.

On Tuesday, the Murfreesboro Town Council agreed to a 30-day extension to an already existing grace period for 10 businesses to come into compliance with the ordinance, which requires existing food preparation/serving businesses to install a grease trap under the sink.

The ordinance will also apply to new businesses that come into the town. They will be required to install an underground septic tank-like grease trap of at least 1,000 gallons.

Last October, the council passed the ordinance and it became effective on January 1. The law is state and federally mandated and prevents fats, oils and greases from industrial, commercial and institutional establishments, particularly food preparation and serving facilities, from entering the town’s sewer system, accumulating and creating blockages.

Public Works Department Superintendent Ben Warren brought the 30-day extension before the council for their decision.

Warren said business owners initially were given six months to come into compliance after the ordinance was enforced on January 1.

That grace period will expire next week and the extension would begin July 1.

Warren said 21 existing establishments currently met the ordinance.

“On June 9, Mr. (Hugh) Montgomery (Interim Town Administrator) and I wrote a letter and sent them out to the 11 remaining businesses that were not in compliance,” he said.

Warren said since that time only one business has come into compliance.

He noted that non-compliance would lead to a fine of $500 per day until the business installed a grease trap. The cost of a 20-pound, under sink grease trap is $400.

“I think we should give them one more chance and that’s it,” said Mayor Pro-tem Molly Eubank.

She added businesses would be saving themselves at least $100 on just one day of the fine if they purchased and installed the $400 grease trap.

Eubank motioned that the council extend the grace period by 30 days; Councilwoman Sarah Wallace offered a second. The motion passed without objection.

The town will be sending a letter to contact those businesses who are not in compliance.

Those who have questions about the ordinance can contact Warren at the Public Works Department at 398-4888 ext. 236.