The tragic death of the toddler at the University Avenue Tim Hortons is raising a lot questions about the relatively unsecured nature of the grease trap.
Police say it was covered by a plastic lid.
“If any agency would have been responsible for the ongoing inspection or monitoring of this grease trap, we are certain it was not the county," Monroe County Spokesperson Jesse Sleezer said. "We are not certain who that was— if it should have been anyone.”
The county decided to address media on Tuesday after city hall and officials with other agencies named the county as the code enforcer pertaining to grease traps at restaurants.
“The versions of the regulations that appear someplace online are not correct," he continued.
Sleezer said from 1964 to 1968 “Sewer Use Law of Monroe County” regulations included specific references to the type of traps required for grease, oil or sand interceptors. It stated they should be of “substantial construction” with easily removable covers that when bolted are watertight and gastight.
There's no mention of the covers in the amended codes from 1988 or, most recently, 2015.
The state's regulation on grease interceptors also does not mention covers.
So who is ensuring that restaurants with these types of containers are compliant?
According to Sleezer, it's part of an inspection performed at the local level by a city, a town or a village, and ultimately the responsibility of code enforcement.
“The county does not do code enforcement," he said. "Cities, towns and villages do, however, we can’t find anything specifically in black and white that says this would be a code enforcement responsibility.”
He said that Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo plans to draft a local law.
“She intends to submit and pass that legislation as soon as possible," Sleezer said. "What we do know is that this event was absolutely tragic in the worse imaginable ways and the county executive is committed to doing what she can to help ensure it doesn’t happen again."
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also started an investigation into the incident. It has six months to complete it.