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Program helps restaurants improve local environment, comply with law

Restaurants and other food service establishments served by Salisbury-Rowan Utilities have three years ó until April 7, 2012 ó to install a right-sized grease interceptor or trap to protect sewers against accumulations of fats, oils and grease.
To help with the costs and promote early compliance, the city has created an incentive program.
The program provides $1,500 to eligible businesses that install an approved grease interceptor or trap within the first year (by April 7, 2010).
Businesses that install interceptors or traps during the second year are eligible for $1,000 in support; the third year, $500.
“As federal and state regulations require this compliance,” City Manager David Treme said, “we feel it is important to assist our Salisbury food service providers in their efforts to conform.
“… We have created an incentive program to assist eligible businesses with the associated cost of implementing these required devices. We hope that these businesses will opt for early compliance and take advantage of these available venues of support.”
Treme said the city appreciates the contributions food service establishments provide to the local economy.
“Our SRU FOG support team consists of two dedicated staff members who will assist our food service owners and operators with questions or concerns regarding compliance to these federal and state mandates,” Treme said.
Blockages caused by fats, oils and grease can harm public health and the environment, while increasing the operating costs for the owner of the drainage line, according to Jim Behmer, director for Salisbury-Rowan Utilities.
Under the new policy, existing food service establishments with an interceptor or trap will need to secure a N.C. licensed plumber, a N.C. professional engineer or a N.C.-permitted permitted grease waste hauler to submit a grease interceptor/trap verification form.
It verifies the volume of the existing device.
Establishments without an interceptor or trap will be required to install an approved device.
The Environmental Protection Agency and N.C. Division of Water Quality have initiated fats, oils and grease (FOG) measures in response to an increasing number of sanitary sewer overflows.
SRU FOG Program Coordinator Aaron Otten is available to answer questions regarding the FOG Control Program.
Otten and FOG Inspector Johnny Rogers will begin meeting with owners and managers of food service establishments in the coming months to review the FOG program.
Otten said SRU offers educational FOG awareness sessions through the local school system, Earth Day events and on Access 16 TV
Individuals with questions related to the FOG Control Policy are being asked to contact Otten’s office at 704-216-2729 or via email at aotte@salisburync.gov.
In addition, citizens may review the council approved FOG Control Program online, by visiting www.salisburync.gov/utilities.
Salisbury’s Wastewater Collection System Permit, issued by the state in 2004, requires that all food service establishment operate and maintain a properly-sized grease trap or interceptor per local approved ordinance.
Federal and state legislation requires that all permitted N.C. municipalities owning and operating sewer collection systems create and implement a FOG Control Program.
The plan must include a FOG educational component for residents and an enforcement policy to which food establishments and commercial food servers must comply.
Salisbury City Council adopted the policy April 7.
The policy includes an approval process for new construction and for existing facilities that are currently without grease interceptors or grease traps.
These entities will be required to submit plans and receive approval of their grease inhibitors prior to installation. In addition, newly installed grease interceptors will require a standard maintenance process at a minimum of every 90 days.
Grease traps will require standard maintenance every 30 days. Furthermore, grease interceptor and grease trap service records are required to remain on site for a period of three years.

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