Guppy’s Tavern, Sewer Board Compromise On Grease Trap Compliance

The owners of Guppy’s Tavern may have narrowly avoided a $250 civil fine.

Doug Spegar, Guppy’s owner, appeared in front of the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District Administrative Board on Tuesday, to explain why paperwork was not submitted to prove he was keeping the restaurant’s grease traps maintained.

The board held a public hearing regarding the restaurant. According to Randall Peterson, director, Guppy’s failed to comply with local laws requiring the restaurant to submit paperwork proving grease traps were being cleaned regularly.

“We are alleging that they failed to keep their grease trap properly maintained and to submit the necessary paperwork to indicate that they are so doing the policy that we have set forth for grease traps in restaurants,” Peterson said. “We require that they submit paperwork when they get the grease trap cleaned.”

Peterson explained that if restaurants do not maintain grease traps, it has potential to impact the collection system over the years.

Guppy’s received several notice violations, according to Peterson, and would not speak to personnel who were sent to the restaurant to receive the paperwork. However, Spegar said that was not the case.

“I hate to say this, but you’re making this up,” Spegar said. “I’ve never turned anyone away.”

Spegar explained to the board that he forgot to send in the paperwork from the time before the last time the grease traps were cleaned. Although he did not bring the paperwork to the meeting, he told the board he does have the previous two receipts, stating the traps had been cleaned properly.

“When I got this business, that business was a wreck,” Spegar said. “I took it over, cleaned it up. I started getting the place cleaned twice a year. I started getting the sewers pumped twice a year. Nobody said, ‘You got to do this, you got to do this;’ I started doing it.”

Spegar told the board he is too busy to remember to send the paperwork in every time, and he cannot afford to pay someone to send it for him. Additionally, Spegar said he has tried to work with the board for alternate solutions in the past, including having the sewer trucks come to the restaurant for the paperwork.

“Most restaurants just pay the 46 cents to send it to us,” Peterson said. “That’s all we are asking for: verification that you have pumped this.”

The board agreed to send someone to Guppy’s Tavern on Thursday for the appropriate paperwork and to check the grease traps. Peterson recommended that the board hold off on the civil penalty until the board’s next meeting, at which time it will revisit the issue to see if the restaurant is in compliance.