New grease traps pose problems in Virginia City |

New grease traps pose problems in Virginia City

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

VIRGINIA CITY — Modern technology and old infrastructure are mixing like oil and water.

The most recent challenge is the new grease interceptor mandated at local eateries by Nevada’s Health Department.

“The old grease traps under the sinks have to be removed and the new interceptors are installed outside of the building,” said Dean Haymore of the Storey County Building Department.

“Some of sewer lines are interconnected,” Haymore said. “There’s no place to put the extra lines necessary for these systems and that’s the problem, but I’m willing to work with business owners to get these new systems installed. We definitely need these traps.”

He said the current system is inadequate and grease is plugging up sewer lines. Haymore estimated the cost of these systems, currently being installed at two local businesses at about $1,000 per unit, but Storey County Commissioner Chuck Haynes challenged that during Thursday’s board meeting.

He said the price tag can go a lot higher, plus the cost of a second dedicated sewer line. He said it’s unfair to businesses in Virginia City and if the state is going to mandate the use of these traps, it needs to provide the funding.

“Where do they expect all this money to come from?” he said. “It’s an abuse of government to put burden like that on some poor guy trying to make a living.”

Converting to these more efficient interceptors has been required in Nevada since the late 1990s, usually when a business changes hands or a building’s use changes, said Kinley Goodman, public health inspector for Virginia City. He said the size of the interceptor used is relative to the size of the water flow and number of fixtures, like dishwashers.

“I would like to see a review. This mandate is burdensome and hinders local businesses,” Haynes said. “We need to take a long, hard look at our own State Health Department. I don’t fathom going along with this.”

The issue was sent to the Storey County District Attorney’s office, to determine if the state had any financial culpability in this issue.

In other business at last week’s county commission meeting:

— Virginia City business owners have been creative over the years, painting C Street curbs red to keep tourists from parking in front of their establishments. Deputy District Attorney Sharon Claassen said they aren’t the only culprits.

Some street signs and lines have been covered up through years of repaving and crosswalks have been moved. One crosswalk conflicts with a handicapped zone. Many tickets written by local deputies are unenforceable and people don’t know what to do, she said.

“The situation is a danger to vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” she said.

Virginia City businessman Angelo Petrini said uniform curbing and lines could do much to alleviate Virginia City’s parking crunch.

“People often park, leaving eight-foot spaces between cars,” he said. “Delineating those spaces with T-lines is important.”

A study defining exactly where those lines should go was completed by the Virginia City Convention and Tourism Authority in November 2001 and work to re-stripe the parking spaces, paint curbing and fix problems with signs will start as soon as summer paving is completed in Storey County, probably in about two weeks.