By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Any establishment that serves food has a grease trap in its plumbing system and if it is not cleaned out back ups can occur inside and outside the establishment.
The Winthrop Health Department and the Department of Public Works have had to deal with the headache. Now the Board of Health is taking action to ramp up the enforcement of cleaning grease traps.
At Tuesday night’s Board of Health meeting Chairman Nick LoConte shared a draft of a letter that will go out to food establishments in the next month or two.
“The grease is getting into the sewer system,” LoConte said.
Inspector John Furillo said two restaurants in French Square were tied into the same system and causing problems.
“Some places need to be cleaned out twice a week and other places like the ice cream shop is only open six months and needs less,” he said. “Some places aren’t getting it done.”
He noted that one place was packed solid with grease. Years ago he said the grease was taken away and burned as biofuel.
There are between 28 and 30 places in town with grease traps.
The letter reinforces the regulations already in place. On top of that food establishment owners will have to have regularly scheduled grease trap pick up that is approved and documented with the Board of Health. Grease haulers will have to obtain a permit from the town. All food serving establishments must send a copy of each clean out and pick up to the Board of Health. Each establishment must maintain a log on the premises that includes a copy of the grease hauler receipt. Finally, designated agents of the Board of Health may conduct unannounced inspections at any time. Failure to comply will lead to a fine.
The health department will be checking with other communities to see how permits, permit fees and regulation are put in place. Failure for establishment owners to comply can result in revocation of the food permit.
“This is a huge problem with the DPW and we want to get this done before any more infrastructure is damaged,” LoConte said.