By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 11/18 the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed grease build up at the Pasta House restaurant, as well as expanding winter hours at the recycling center.
The board first met with Pasta House owner Mario Ribeiro about the grease issues the business has been dealing with for about four years.
Public Works Superintendent Vincent Furtado explained to the board and the public about the history behind the Pasta House’s grease issue. He said that four years ago the town made it a rule that any new restaurant must put in an external grease trap and older restaurants like the Pasta House who have internal grease traps could be grandfathered, but only if the internal grease traps were working sufficiently.
BPW Chairperson Brian Wotton said the Pasta House was remodeled a few years ago and added new internal grease traps, but has continues to have grease build up due to the size and popularity of the restaurant.
Mr. Furtado explained that even with the new internal grease trap and an attempt to use biological products to eliminate grease, the restaurant has still had a problem
Board member Frank Coelho said that the town has had to clear the sewer line out in the street four times and the grease build up has to stop.
Mr. Furtado said even with all the techniques the restaurant has used to try to eliminate grease, the buildups keep happening because the business is just too big for internal grease traps.
Board member Robert Hobson said it is the most famous restaurant in town.
Mr. Ribeiro said that he wants to resolve the issue. He explained that he needs to install an external grease trap, but it is very costly. The cost of the installation itself is not too bad, he said, but the cost of the engineering is just too much. He asked if the town would allow him to install the external grease trap without all the engineering.
Mr. Ribeiro also explained that each time he had the town clear out the sewer he was charged a lot of money by the town. It has cost him between $1500 and $2500 each time.
Mr. Ribeiro questioned why he was charged that much to have the town clear their own pipes.
Mr. Hobson explained that the cost of clearing the pipe is based off the time and materials used.
Mr. Furtado also explained that the Mr. Ribeiro is paying for the town’s pipe to be cleared because the pipes are backed up due to the grease coming from his restaurant.
Mr. Coelho explained that Mr. Ribeiro waited three months before paying one of the town’s bills for clearing the pipe. Mr. Coelho asked Mr. Ribeiro if he would have appreciated it if the town waited three months to clear his backup.
Mr. Ribeiro explained that he did not know he was responsible for his pipe as well as the town’s.
Mr. Furtado explained that Mr. Ribeiro should start the process of planning and finding a contractor to install the external grease trap. Mr. Furtado said he would ask the Board of Health about the possibility of installing the external grease trap without engineering.
Mr. Ribeiro said that the external grease trap would be about $10,000 plus a plumber. He said he does not believe the engineering is necessary, which add $30,000 to the project.
Board member Keith Silvia said that he did not think BOH would allow the restaurant to install an external grease trap without engineering.
Mr. Furtado said he would talk to the BOH and see what they can do.
Mr. Hobson suggested they meet again with Mr. Ribeiro in two to three months to give him time to come up with a plan and find a contractor, as well as to give Mr. Furtado time to speak to the Board of Health.
Mr. Coelho disagreed and said that the grease issue needs to be dealt with soon.
The board voted to give Mr. Ribeiro two to three months to come up with a plan, with Mr. Coelho voting “no.”
In another matter the board discussed the incentive water sampling locations. Mr. Furtado explained that the town has 45 locations that have volunteered to be sampled, but not all 45 will be used.
Mr. Furtado said he would like to make the incentive that all the locations that are listed to volunteer for water sampling will receive $20 off their water bill per year and the locations that the town actually uses water samples from will receive $40 off their water bill.
The board approved that recommendation unanimously,
The motion passed unanimously.
In another matter Mr. Furtado asked the board about opting into mutual aid. He explained that mutual aid is for all towns to help each other in times of need. If a neighboring town needed help the town of Fairhaven could help them and vice versa.
Mr. Furtado gave the example of all the town’s plows being broken, and a neighboring town would help plow the snow etc.
The board passed the measure unanimously.
In another matter Mr. Hobson asked if the recycling center could be open two Saturdays a month instead of only one Saturday a month during the winter months.
Mr. Furtado explained that from January to March the recycling center is open half days on Wednesdays and the last Saturday of the month.
Mr. Hobson said that adding another Saturday would help people who have trouble getting there, due to work etc.
Mr. Furtado agreed and said they could add another Saturday. Mr. Furtado said that from January to March the recycling center could be open half days on Wednesdays and every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
In another matter Mr. Hobson suggested to Mr. Furtado that the Park Department take control over the Tree Department.
Mr. Furtado said that is something that the board would have to discuss with Town Administrator Mark Rees.
Mr. Wotton mentioned that there was recent accident on West Island that was in a location where a traffic study had been done. He said he believed that the location needed a stop sign and the traffic study that was done in August of 2016 concluded that no stop sign was needed.
Mr. Wotton suggested that a new traffic study be done because he believed that area was still a safety concern.
Mr. Furtado suggested that instead of going through a whole new traffic study that instead they get a recommendation letter for a stop sign from an engineer.
Mr. Furtado said he would speak with GCG Associates about getting a letter recommendation for a stop sign in that area.
Mr. Furtado also informed the board that they have received an $800,000 grant to do roadwork on Sconticut Neck Road. The grant will help narrow the portion of the road near the crossing of the bike path, and will also create a bike lane to the Wood School.
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