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Monroe County begins visually inspecting grease traps

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Spectrum News
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Monroe County inspectors check grease trap lids.

Monroe County employees are headed to 2,500 restaurants to visually inspect grease traps over the next several days.

The action comes after a 3-year-old boy fell through a plastic replacement lid of a trap at the Tim Hortons on University Avenue last week and died. 

County spokesperson Jesse Sleezer says that no government agency is required to inspect the traps, which are used to keep grease out of the sewer system. Sleezer says the county will fill the gap until a law exists about the traps. 

Mike Garland runs the county’s Department of Environmental Services, which is working with the health department to carry out the inspections. He made the first inspection Thursday at a Tim Hortons in Henrietta, where everything was in order. 

“We want to make sure that they’re in proper working condition, that they still have their integrity, that they’re not cracked, that they’re not broken, so we’ll note all that as part of the inspection,” said Garland. “And so what we’re looking for is, is that lid secure and it could be secured by a number of different means. It could be bolted, it could be locked, it could be fastened, or it could be a sufficient weight that could be very difficult to lift.”

Garland said the lid should weigh about 60 pounds. He also said that the county does not know exactly how many of these traps exist -- and sometimes restaurant managers don’t know where they are.

“They could be located in different places around the property. They could be in a parking lot or a drive-through lane. They could be in a landscaped island. They could be out in the back in a grassy area,” said Garland.

If there is a problem with the trap, the county will notify the restaurant or the management company that typically services the trap and hauls away the grease.

The process of inspecting these traps could take anywhere from a week to 10 days, said Garland. 

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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