NYS Assemblyman Thiele Attends LILWA Meeting (February 12, 2004)
Left to Right:
LILWA President., Judge Coleman,
NYS Assmblyman, Fred W. Thiele, Jr.,
Skip Norsic, LILWA Board Member (East End)
Southampton, NY, - Feb.12th, 2004__At the February board meeting of the Long Island Liquid Waste Association (LILWA), held in Southampton, NYS Assemblyman, Fred W. Thiele, Jr., (2nd Assembly District) listened as members expressed their concerns regarding the inadequate capacities of Long Island sewage treatment plants and their recent banning of solidified waste grease from those facilities. The ban now forces Long Island waste haulers and cesspool service companies to truck the banned material out of the state for disposal. LILWA is a trade organization made up of area cesspool cleaners, liquid waste haulers and related industries.

Having to haul the grease long distances to out of state plants is adding substantial costs to the cleaning of commercial grease traps which are components of the septic systems used by restaurants, hospitals, and other entities that have large food service facilities, and the additional expense is causing some to forego their regular maintenance. However, neglecting grease trap maintenance allows the system-clogging grease to build up and solidify, eventually causing the system to fail. When that happens, expensive emergency service becomes necessary. The high fees have even caused some businesses to seek out renegade companies who are willing to pump the grease out cheaply and then dump it, illegally, on Long Island, a practice that can have an adverse impact on groundwater, coastal areas and the environment in general.

The Assemblyman heard several committee reports calling for legislation aimed at stopping illegal dumping by requiring grease trap inspections and the institution of of a system that would track grease trap material throughout the entire process, from the pump-out to the dump facility in much the same way hazardous materials are tracked.

Other reports concentrated on the need for a rational policy regarding the disposal of all sewage on Long Island. Our existing facilities can no longer handle the volume produced by the ever increasing population and the proliferation of new businesses. Recently, the facilities currently in service have been reaching their capacities early in the day and thus, closing their doors to additional dumping. The early closings leavetrucks full of thousands of gallons of septic material having to wait until the next day to off-load their contents. In turn, with the trucks full, they are no longer available to help customers in need of service.

Mr. Thiele agreed with the LILWA members that there is a looming crises and that the co-operation of government agencies, consumer and civic associations, environmental groups as well as those in the industry will be needed before there is any hope of solving the problem.

The Persistent Problem of Grease (LILWA Press Release, July 2004)

For approximately a year and a half, our industry has been dealing with an ever worsening problem regarding the disposal of waste grease from restaurants, institutions, and other commercial / industrial producers of the material. In a nutshell, the problem is that although the technology exists, Suffolk County does not currently have facilities that can process and safely dispose of the volume of waste grease that is now being generated. Their solution to the problem has been to simply stop accepting the material at their Bergen Point treatment plant. Smaller municipal and private facilities have followed suit.

With no place to dispose of the grease, Suffolk County septic system service companies have begun trucking the material off the island, at considerable expense, and passing the transportation costs along to their customers. This has given rise to a number of serious problems.

Cetainly, among the most most serious consequenses of this situation is the problem of illegal dumping of raw sewage in various places around Long Island. Evidence of the illegal dumping is beginning to show up in secluded areas, woods, beaches and even in the groundwater. Grease laden sewage has also been dumped into the septic systems of shopping centers, businesses, buildings under construction private residences, as well. Left unchecked, the cleanup costs generated by the illegal practice figure to be astronomical.

Adding to the crisis is the fact that the Passaic River plant has recently closed it's doors to waste grease from Long Island and the material is now being trucked to plants in northern Virginia and upstate New York, on the Canadian border. Obviously, the cost of shipping the sludge hundreds of miles for disposal is adding substantial costs to an already overburdened industry and in the opinion of many operators, it is becoming prohibitive. If it continues, these companies will simply stop servicing the grease traps, leaving their customers with no alternative but to turn to the illegal dumpers. In that case, the area faces a potential ecological and economic disaster of immense proportions.

This Association (LILWA) has been calling on county and state officials, industries and business who generate the grease to sit down with us to work out a solution. More often than not, they don't respond and when they do, the problem has receives little more than lip-service. However, it is quickly becoming obvious that shipping the problem off the island is not working and government and industry can no longer turn a blind eye to it. We have to come to grips with the fact that our infrastructure is not adequate to deal with the rapid growth of eastern Long Island and adopt rational policies to deal with it.

LILWA Executive Director, Linda Perlow, was interviwed by Doug Day contributing writer for Cole Publishing. The articale appeared in the March 2015 edition of the Onsite Installer. The articale can be viewed by clicking on the image to the right.
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