Restaurants must have secure grease trap covers by Dec. 1

The Sadie Grace Andrews Act by Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, and Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn, is effective June 1.

The law requiring secured grease trap covers is named for a 3-year-old who drowned in October in a grease trap outside an Auburn ice cream shop. That grease trap had an unlocked plastic cover, which closed behind the child after she fell in.

The state’s restaurants and other commercial food service establishments have until Dec. 1  to comply with this new minimum standard for grease trap covers. Dec. 1 is six months after the law’s effective date.

Those with outside grease traps must cover those traps with manholes that can withstand weight and prevent access by children. The law specifies that those covers can either be secured “by a bolt or other locking mechanism” or be made of cast iron “rated for heavy road traffic.” It also allows a public water or sewer authority to determine the type of cover required and to enforce the authority’s own grease control policy.

Restaurants and other food service establishments that fail to comply are subject to a $100 civil penalty that would be assessed by the Alabama Department of Public Health for every day the required cover isn’t installed.

Most businesses have cast-iron covers,” Tracy Andrews, the deceased child’s father, told lawmakers. He said the law provides an “easy fix” that will prevent similar tragedies in the future.


This article is part of the Alabama Retail Report, a communication for Alabama Retail Association members. Not a member? Join us!

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