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Disposals to Grind on in Raleigh

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to rescind its month-old ban on garbage disposals.

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Garbage Disposal
RALEIGH, N.C. — The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to trash its month-old ban on garbage disposals.

The council was almost as much in agreement last month when it adopted the ban, but public criticism of the move and lobbying from disposal manufacturers convinced council members they had acted too hastily in adopting one of the first such bans nationwide.

City officials had said the disposal ban was needed because food scraps and other debris clog municipal sewer lines, causing overflows that are costly to repair and that could potentially harm the environment.

They acknowledged last week, however, that their opinion was based on empirical evidence and not on scientific research. Meanwhile, a Purdue University food science professor told the council that grease and fats – not food scraps – congeal in sewer lines to cause overflows.

Under the ban, homeowners were allowed to continue to use existing disposals, but couldn't install a new device or replace a disposal that no longer worked.

Council members debated Tuesday about revising the city ordinance on how much grease can be dumped down the drain, but the issue died when they couldn't agree on how it would be worded.

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