Sewer damage recently cost Mount Airy tens of thousands of dollars, so to avoid another costly repair bill, the town is holding business owners responsible for the proper disposal of fats, oil and grease.
During a public meeting on Oct. 7, the council unanimously passed a fats, oil and grease ordinance. Up until now, the town did not monitor how restaurants and other businesses disposed of them.
"The last thing we want is more regulation, however, we had at least one instance were a business clogged the sewer line," Councilman Chris Everich said.
Mount Airy's water and sewer commission members wrote the ordinance, which requires a business owner to show proof of proper grease, fat and oil disposal. Failure to provide proof, or falsified proof, could result in a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail, according to the ordinance.
Similar to an ordinance in the city of Frederick, all employees are required to be trained in and made aware of all required and recommended best practices for preventing the materials from entering the sewer system.
The same rules now apply in Mount Airy.
The new ordinance also requires establishments to meet disposal requirements set by Carroll County, the state, the Environmental Protection Agency and industry standards.
Concetta's Main Street Bistro owner Jeff Baer and Mount Airy Tavern Owner James DiChiara had not received notification about the ordinance, but they were not worried.
"We are already on top of it," DiChiara said of his business.
Baer agreed. A grease collecting company regularly visits and rids the bistro of unwanted grease.
Everich said the ordinance finally gives Mount Airy the legal power to regulate.
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