As Metro Vancouver steps up its enforcement of grease-dumping bylaws, the City of Richmond is turning its attention to homeowners.
Metro Vancouver has approved new requirements aimed at reducing the amount of grease going into the region’s sewers from restaurants and commercial kitchens.
The city has been on the case for many years, educating and policing restaurants on the disposal of their leftovers and grease, which can cost millions of dollars every year to clear up.
And, with the city now reporting an impressive 70 to 80 per cent compliance from Richmond’s eateries, the focus will soon switch to the city’s homeowners.
“We’ve been doing it with a part-time inspector, trying to make sure there’s compliance,” said Romeo Bicego, the city’s manager of sewage and drainage.
“However, we feel, operationally, the problem is coming also from the homeowners, where everything is perhaps still getting rinsed down the drains.
“Many homes also have garbarators, but the fats, oils and greases still go hard at some point.”
Urging residents to put their leftovers in a green recycling can or even in the garbage, Bicego said it’s all about changing people’s habits.
“We will turning to schools in a bid to get the message out to homes,” added Bicego.
“There’s heavy residential development in the downtown core and each of those high towers could have hundreds of garbarators.”
Bicego welcomed Metro Vancouver’s bylaw that establishes requirements for sizing and pump-out frequency for grease traps.
The bylaw also limits the amount of grease and solids allowed to flow from the grease traps into the sewers
“Restaurants and businesses out there know we’re checking, he said.
“I think there is now some standards being set at Metro Vancouver level.”
Bicego said an average of four fines per month are being issued to restaurants in the city for breaching the grease bylaw, with fines varying from $100 to $1,000.
The new Metro Vancouver (MV) measures are directed at grease interceptors or grease traps, the devices designed to capture grease. The bylaw, which is now in force, applies to all restaurants and commercial kitchens in the region.
“Grease-clogged sewers cause sewage to back up and overflow, which causes damage to homes, businesses and properties,” said MV board chair Greg Moore.
“It’s time to take more action to keep grease out of our sewers.”
Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities spend at least $2 million every year to deal with the effects of grease, including replacing infrastructure and managing spills.