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Monroe County Legislature approves 'Bryce's Law,' regulating grease trap covers

Sep 10, 2019

The Monroe County Legislature on Tuesday night approved “Bryce’s Law,” designed to better regulate the safety and security of grease trap covers in the county.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says the legislation passed with unanimous, bipartisan support, and said she hopes that the NYS Legislature will follow the county’s lead by passing a similar version of Bryce’s Law soon.

Bryce’s Law was named after 3-year-old Bryce Raynor, the Rochester boy who fell into a grease trap outside the Tim Horton’s restaurant on University Avenue in Rochester on July 15. Police said the grease trap lid was made of plastic and did not support the child’s weight.

Under the new local law, grease trap covers will have to be designed to withstand expected loads and prevent access by unauthorized individuals. Restaurants will also have to make sure that a grease trap cover is secured by a bolt or locking mechanism, or it must have a cover of sufficient weight to prevent unauthorized access. 

The Monroe County Department of Public Health will inspect all permitted food service establishments that use the grease trap covers to assure compliance with the new law.

The county recently completed safety sweeps at nearly 2,500 local businesses to check the security of the grease trap covers.  More than 530 of them had the external grease traps and of those, four were deficient. Where there were deficiencies, the county health department worked with the restaurant owner to address the issue and officials say those deficiencies have now been fixed.

NYS Assembly members Harry Bronson and Jamie Romeo are also drafting legislation regarding the security of the grease trap covers; it is expected to be considered in the next state legislative session, scheduled to begin in January.

In Monroe County, a final public hearing on the proposed local law is set for September 27 at 1:00 p.m.  at the county legislature chambers. Following the hearing, the law will be signed by Dinolfo and go into effect at the end of September.