Grosse Pointe City strengthens grease trap ordinance to keep oils, fats from slipping into sewer system

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 17, 2021

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — As part of its ongoing efforts to improve operations of the city’s sewer system, Grosse Pointe City has amended its grease trap ordinance to strengthen it and keep grease out of sewer lines.

Cooking oils and grease can clog or build up in sewer lines, impeding proper flow. Because commercial establishments, especially those in the food preparation industry, can generate a considerable amount of grease, governmental entities are allowed to regulate grease disposal. The City already had a grease trap ordinance on the books for relevant businesses, but on Oct. 18, the Grosse Pointe City Council unanimously approved an amended ordinance that has more teeth.

Most food preparation establishments in the City have grease interceptors, and some also have receptacles to hold oil, but the revised ordinance mandates that grease interceptors must be cleaned at least once a year and businesses must keep written or digital records of these cleanings, City Manager Pete Dame said. In addition, he said the revision gives the city inspector the authority to inspect grease interceptors and oil receptacles annually.

Dame said the revised ordinance “follows the recommendation of the city engineer.”

Grease traps and oil receptacles must be routinely emptied, as well, according to the revised ordinance.

Dame said regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary for these containment mechanisms to work properly.

“The main point of this (amended) ordinance is to add the annual (maintenance requirement),” Dame said.

The amended ordinance was drafted by the city attorney and reviewed by the city’s building inspector, public works director and code enforcement officer, Dame said.

City Attorney Chuck Kennedy clarified that violators face a civil, not criminal, infraction if they fail to comply with the revised ordinance.

“Nobody is going to go to jail (over this),” Kennedy said.

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