Local News

Panel Urges Disposal of Disposal Ban

Posted April 8, 2008

— A City Council committee voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend Raleigh scrap its 3-week-old ban on garbage disposals.

The Budget and Economic Development Committee agreed to review the ordinance, which has drawn fire from residents, builders and disposal manufacturers since the council passed the measure a month ago.

The full council would have to vote to rescind the ban at its meeting next week.

City officials backed the disposal ban – it's among the first nationwide – because they said food scraps and other debris clog municipal sewer lines, causing overflows that are costly to repair and that could potentially harm the environment.

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 applies to Wake County customers on septic systems, but officials said homes that have obtained city permits and are already under construction can keep their disposals.

Jerry Ryder, the president of disposal manufacturer InSinkErator, who flew to Raleigh from Wisconsin last month to lobby for a repeal of the ban, brought reinforcements Tuesday to support his effort.

Kevin Keener, a Purdue University professor of food science, and Kendall Christiansen, a member of New York City's recycling advisory board, both told Raleigh council members that there was no link between ground-up food scraps and clogged sewer lines.

"My opinion is, the food particles, I do not think play significant role in the formation of these blockages," Keener said, blaming most clogs on congealed grease, fats and oils.

Some council members said Tuesday that they felt they didn't have all of the facts when they voted for the ban on March 4.

Dale Crisp, director of the city's Public Utilities Department, passed around a jar of hardened sludge he said was responsible for a recent sewer overflow. But he acknowledged in response to questions from the council that his request for the ban was based not on any scientific research but only on visual evidence of what crews were finding in sewer lines.

Grease is the main cause of sewage spills in Raleigh, officials said, followed by debris likes sticks, rocks and household items in the sewer lines. Structural damage, tree roots and heavy rains round out the top five causes, officials said.


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  • sweetsea Apr 9, 2008

    With a liberal squirrely mayor like Meeker you get craziness across the board. In a democracy we deserve what we elect. He is not through with nutty ideas. Give him a little time and he will come up with one to top the disposal ban.

  • Slider Apr 9, 2008

    I have to answer ROA2RDU: The harm is that it is not needed and is another unnecessary, idiotic, over reaction by the city government that has to be, collectively, the most ineffective and worthless in the nation. I guess you don't care but I don't like the government interfering with my life, under threat of force or fines, for no good reason. If you don't want to use a disposal, don't use one. But don't interfere with the rest of us because "where is the harm." That is one of the worst justifications I have ever heard.

  • coolwill Apr 9, 2008

    Don’t forget this is the same group that said we should only use 35 gallons of water per individual and allow 55 gallons of water per car if the car wash does not have a recycle system. And yes I am sick of the idiot government trying to control me. It was not about the garbage disposal per say, it was about them trying to control my life. They should be trying to ban the illegals aliens that the law says they can no work in the US unless they are legal. By the way how much water did you use last month; it was not 35gallons per person. By the way once the tier charge come to pass it might be based on 35 gallons per person. 7 people should not control the destiny of a city. The water does not go back into the river or lake until it is cleaned so you could use a detergent to clean the pipes, Steve.

  • MarcoPolo Apr 8, 2008

    It's terrible that good people had to waste time on this silly issue...attending meetings and ponying up a petition.

    Way to go Heir Meeker and clown council (minus one poor soul, Isley). These people are completely out of control and are definitely drought-happy.

    Does anybody remember what happened with that whistle-blower (couple of years back) who worked for Dale Crisp's org? The one who got the word out about City's sewage disposal in farm fields (and the streams). That's when I first heard of Crisp. This guy is a disaster- his level of arrogance and incompetence (he and Russell Allen must go way back) is scarry. I remember the guy getting tormented and fired but I think the N&O propped him up long enough to get some sort of settlement. Just wondering what the outcome was.


    Go check out Wangs Kitchen at Creedmoor and Lynn Road in the Korger shopping center. Now there is a mess to see..... And they just keep frying it up and tossing it out the back door.


    Go after the free-loading Restaurants in the area. All you have to do is walk behind a chinese take out or restaurant and get your pen and pad of paper and give them a fine. Easy is that..... Government is always taking it out on the people and never look at those to see where the real problem is. Check out the nasty dumpsters full of grease at our local chicken and frying restaurants I bet you get a big surprise.

  • MarcoPolo Apr 8, 2008

    This scenario also shows how many people like being controlled.

    What's up with the no harm/no foul. These people are truly not domesticated.

  • misschris234 Apr 8, 2008

    No harm in going without a garbage disposal, I have lived many years without one, however, if there is no REAL reason to get rid of them, people should be allowed to have them as long as they use them responsibly. Next it's the dishwashers, if yours has a disposal feature, you will have to ditch it, and what is it after that? If there is a VALID reason, dump them all, but as of now, there isn't one, which is why it was such a HUGE deal around the country when Raleigh did it, there wasn't a valid reason for the ban, it was backed by no research.

    As for Meeker, can't stand the man and most of the things he comes up with are insane, but that is for me to decide at the polls. It wouldn't matter who came up with this ban, I wouldn't have liked it. There are other issues Raleigh needs to prioritize right now, this was certainly not one of them. Just my opinion of course.

  • ROA2RDU Apr 8, 2008

    No, chris123, I get it, it is about a bunch of malcontents throwing rocks at the mayor. The issue doesn't matter. The fact is, if not having a disposal makes people think about what they trow away and how the dispose of it - that is a good thing. We need more of it.

    But, Chris123, sadly, the malcontents will throw their rock no matter the issue. Selling their fear - "Meeker is going to take your rights away, but, not before he taxes you to death". The malcontents are just trying to make more malcontents. And the price is going to be our living space, the place on the planet we have to live together. (or, with any other issue, a chance to make our place better)

    Again, I ask you, where is the harm in going without a garbage disposal?

  • whatelseisnew Apr 8, 2008

    Gee I had no idea that grinding up vegetable scraps polluted. But hey why stop at the food disposals. More water could be saved if you banned indoor plumbing. My grandpa had an outside well and an outhouse in the city. Why not go back to that. No more water and sewer bills. The city could stop polluting the Neuse and lay off a bunch of workers. Then we can go back to candles and gas lights and shut down that awful Nuc plant. Next lets go back to horse and buggy and get rid of the global warming cars. I really can't believe the council backed away from banning these horrible appliances known as garbage disposals. They should have stuck to it and just kept banning every modern day appliance known to man. Think of the employment boom when ice men deliver that big block of ice so you can keep you food stufs cool. Ah the good ole days.