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Some question garbage disposal ban
By Ann Forte [News 14 March 6, 2008]

RALEIGH -- Earlier this week, the Raleigh City Council unanimously approved a ban on all new and replacement garbage disposal units as a way to reduce sewage overflows. Some plumbers and hardware stores are not convinced the ban work the way it is intended to.

"I think it's a little over the edge," explained David Lindsay who runs Raleigh's Burke Brothers Hardware.

Lindsay says he sells several replacement garbage disposal units each month. He is not sure the ban on them will cut down on clogged pipes.

"I don't know what they plan to accomplish here as far as being able to keep grease out of the system," Lindsay said. "Grease down the drain is grease down the drain."

The new ordinance prohibits any new garbage disposals from being connected to the city's sewer system. Folks who already have them can continue use them, but if they break they can not be replaced.

City leaders believe the ban is a way to reduce the number of sewage overflows caused by food and grease that have been put down the drain.

Garner, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Wendell, and Zebulon are on Raleigh's water system and will also have to follow the ban.

"We're trying to cut down on those overflows which are environmentally improper," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. "Also, the state is now fining for those."

Raleigh will fine violators of the ban up to $25,000 a day.

"If they're saying that they are going to charge a person $25,000, [that is] definitely going to make you think before you put in one," said Billy Battle, who owns Busy Bee Plumbing.

Busy Bee Plumbing gets five to six calls a week about broken garbage disposals. After March 17, they will no longer be able to fix them.

Under the ordinance, hardware stores will still be able to sell new disposals. Raleigh's city manager is now working with the plumbing industry on how to enforce the ordinance.

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