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.

Follow Cara R. Anthony on Twitter: CaraRAnthony.

(14) comments

higgledy
higgledy

There is a market for used cooking oil. I know McDonalds sells their used fry oil and grease.

watson4sherlock
watson4sherlock

Unless you wipe all utensils down with paper towels before you wash them, you're still washing grease and oil down the drain. I don't fry foods at home but the fried children from the grocery is irresistible once in a while.

morel hunter
morel hunter

Sounds delicious. Where can I get some?

whoville2
whoville2

Should homeowners be following the same rule-no fats, greases etc. down their kitchen sink?

dragondancer1814
dragondancer1814

I already follow that rule due to my being raised under the guide of "Waste not, want not!" Used cooking oil gets saved and taken to the county landfill, where it is recycled (yes, they have a tank for residents to put their used cooking oil in at the recycling station!). Leftover hamburger and bacon grease gets repurposed in our house. We save it in cans in the refrigerator, and when we have three or four, it all gets cooked down together, mixed with birdseed, and poured into pans to be cut into suet cakes for the birds after it cools. These cakes can be put into the freezer for storage until use, and you can put the cakes into one of those square suet feeders-the winter birds LOVE it!

Between the seed feeder and the suet feeder, we see all kinds of birds coming around our yard every winter. The seed feeder brings in cardinals, juncos, sparrows, and other seed-eating birds, while the suet feeder brings in flickers, chickadees, downy woodpeckers, wrens, and a tufted titmouse or two. They know we set up suet for them, and every fall they hang around my deck waiting for it to get cold enough for me to set the feeder up! Who needs that mindless trash they call "entertainment" on TV?

Councilman Chris Everich
Councilman Chris Everich

As Ms. Anthony from the Post notes, at least 1 business in town had to shut down temporarily due to a sewage backup into their facility. The town traced the backup to the improper disposal of FOG (fats, oils, grease) by a restaurant. This backup cost the business significant lost revenue, physical damage to equipment, and labor. The town citizens had to cover damage to the municipal infrastructure. The Town Council passed a regulation to help prevent future losses.
I applaud Concetta's Main Street Bistro owner Jeff Baer and Mount Airy Tavern Owner James DiChiara for their support and understanding. If pixie-dust has a better suggestion on how to prevent improper disposal of FOG without a regulation we'd absolutely consider it. We've tried the "honor" system and it didn't work.
Mount Airy Councilman Chris Everich

pixie-dust
pixie-dust

The answer is obvious: free markets. That business you mention could 1) sue the restaurants, 2) learn a valuable lesson and relocate elsewhere, 3) publicize the problem and ask the public to boycott the polluters.

And those are just off the top of my head. You guys just didn't give free markets enough to work properly.

watson4sherlock
watson4sherlock

Free Market? Can you also make oil and water mix? Why should we stop downed animals from going to slaughter and entering the food supply? Who cares if people contract disease from eating tainted meat.

15-ton fat blob removed from London sewer

See http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/06/fatberg-london/2624511/

business
business

After your absolutely brilliant suggestions did your head explode?

higgledy
higgledy

pixie is too ignorant to know there is already a market for used cooking oil.

rscott25
rscott25

While I personally do not..their are those out there that want to connect with these restauraunts because their cars are converted to run off this. With the internet..would be win-win

higgledy
higgledy

That is illegal in Maryland.

pixie-dust
pixie-dust

This must be one of those job killing regulations that strangle small business owners that I'm always hearing about. The next thing you know, every restaurant in town will pick up and move.

business
business

You must be one of them baggers always blowing hard.

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