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Delay FOG Rules To Aid Businesses

So, you are the owner or manager of a restaurant or other food service business hit hard by COVID-19 shutdowns. You and your staff have struggled to keep your establishment alive.

Now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You have reopened or are nearly ready to do so. Where’s your grease trap?

At some point, possibly soon, you and about 550 other local food preparation businesses will have to have such equipment, Wheeling City Council members were told last week.

You do have $10,000 to $20,000 lying around to install one, don’t you? That is the estimated cost of grease trap equipment that meets state and federal requirements for a large restaurant.

The information came from Mike Chiazza, a Wheeling city employee who coordinates the Fats, Oils and Grease Control Program — FOG.

“Improper disposal of grease causes problems in sewer systems,” Chiazza explained. That brought state and federal environmental control agencies into the picture. Cities can be fined for not enforcing grease trap rules, and it is expected Wheeling’s FOG enforcement program will cost about $183,000 a year.

“There’s no restaurant owner right now that’s going to be able to afford that, period,” observed Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday, after hearing about the FOG rules.

Precisely. Wheeling officials may not be able to ignore FOG, but they can delay enforcement to give food establishments a little much-needed financial recovery time. They should do that, rather than watch some businesses go down the drain because of a new government mandate coming on the heels of COVID-19.

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