Grease trap inspections begin across Rochester after Tim Hortons tragedy

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HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — For the first time, the Monroe County Health Department is inspecting grease traps. They will get to about 2,500 locations in the next few weeks, making sure they’re secure, following the death of a three-year-old who fell into a grease trap at a local Tim Hortons.

Inspectors started their day Thursday at a Tim Hortons in Henrietta. That location has two grease traps, both connected to an underground grease tank. Officials say they’re expecting to see many like that one as they begin inspections.

Inspectors are looking for grease traps to be locked securely, fastened, and be able to support a certain weight. If they find anything that doesn’t seem safe, they’ll make a recommendation to the restaurant to make a change. Since this isn’t an official law, they can’t enforce it just yet.

Mike Garland is the Director of Environmental Services, and he’s doing inspections Thursday and over the next week or so. As Garland and his crews proceed, they’ll be building an inventory of all the grease traps in the county.

“We’ll create a database that’ll be built into the Department of Health’s database, and then made part of the annual inspection,” Garland said. “If we see something that’s of immediate public safety and health, we would bring that to the attention of the proprietor.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo will be introducing a proposed grease trap law Friday, which county officials say is expected to pass into law officially sometime in September.

Meanwhile, New York State legislators will begin considering a statewide law regarding grease trap safety, proposed by local Assembly members Harry Bronson (D-138) and Jamie Romeo (D-136), in January.

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