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Disposal Ban Not Sent Down Drain

Posted March 18, 2008

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— Despite opposition from many residents and developers and at least one City Council member, Raleigh's new ban on garbage disposals remained in place Tuesday.

The disposal ban, which the City Council approved two weeks ago, is among the first in the country. Although city officials previously said violators face fines of up to $25,000 a day, they said Tuesday that most homeowners would receive warning notices.

Repeat offenders could face hefty fines or the cost of cleaning up sewer overflows, officials said.

City officials said putting food and grease through a disposal and into the municipal sewer system clogs the lines and frequently causes back-ups and overflows. The state Division of Water Quality fined the city nearly $4,000 in December for major sewer spills.

Local officials also said using disposals wastes about 500,000 gallons of water a day throughout the municipal water system.

Under the ban, homeowners can continue to use existing disposals, but no new devices can be installed and existing ones can't be replaced when they quit working. The ban also applied to Wake County customers on septic systems, but officials said homes that have obtained city permits and are already under construction will be allowed to keep their disposals.

Councilman Philip Isley, who missed the March 4 vote on the issue, on Tuesday tried to get the city to delay enforcement of the ban for a month or two so the council's Public Works Committee could study the ban's impact.

"Complete strangers are stopping me in the store and asking, 'What are you thinking?'" Isley said, noting the public might view the issue as a barometer of the council's regulatory leanings. "This debate may seem inane – the whole thing may be trivial to you – but it's not trivial to me."

The president of a major garbage disposal company also flew in from Wisconsin to convince the City Council to back off the ban.

"There are 60 million households regularly using these throughout the United States," said Jerry Ryder, president of InSinkErator.

Isley's effort failed, but it did produce one effort to ease the tension at the council meeting when Councilman Thomas Crowder gave him a composting pot in which to dispose of his food scraps.

Instead, the council's Budget and Economic Development Committee will review the disposal ordinance and recommend any adjustments to the full council.

Environmental groups applauded the move.

"I think people need to understand that (without the disposal ban) raw sewage will end up on public greenways, near rivers and streams," said Dean Naujoks, of the Neuse River Foundation.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Nope Mar 20, 2008

    Why is this a big deal??

  • Shadow213 Mar 20, 2008

    it's grease that is the issue. you don't need a garbage disposal to put grease down your drain. This wont change anything.

  • dws Mar 19, 2008

    "All I want to know is what took them so long to figure this out. How log have disposals been used now??Like forever...What made them all of a sudden discover this and why isn't it discovered by others.?"

    they haven't "figured" anything out.....the ongoing Raleigh City Council keystone cops antics are not addressing Raleigh's issues.....everything they do is a shotgun approach

  • getrealpeople Mar 19, 2008

    If is so bad why does Wake county ban them??? cause they overload your septic tank and then it backs up in your house.

  • dmccall Mar 19, 2008

    The "common sense" argument doesn't always apply. When blending into traffic, it is safer to use your accelerator than the brake. When brushing your teeth, harder and faster motions decrease your effectiveness.

    This debate is another one of those cases. While one may think that casseroles in the sewers adds bulk, thus adds to a clog, the true problem is pure fats. Research shows that systems with garbage disposals are NOT clogged more than systems without.

    If common sense were the answer, then why are we creating a law that goes against what other U.S. municipalities are doing?

    One final question for supporters of the ban: Do you use shaving cream?

  • momof2 Mar 19, 2008

    ladyblue-I think they are just trying to get our focus on this so we forget about all of their other screw-ups until they get them fixed. Then they will reverse this "because they care about the citizens". Uck!

  • ladyblue Mar 19, 2008

    All I want to know is what took them so long to figure this out. How log have disposals been used now??Like forever...What made them all of a sudden discover this and why isn't it discovered by others.?

  • foetine Mar 19, 2008

    with all the unflushed toilets and festering food scraps in the backyards, Raleigh is going to smell like a pig sty this summer.

  • Scubagirl Mar 19, 2008

    This may have been posted previously but here is a link to sign a petition against the disposal ban.
    So, if you're against the ban (which most seem to be) please sign.

  • momof2 Mar 19, 2008

    Can we ban the mayor and certain city council members?