W Hotel at 541 Lexington Ave., Manhattan. Image Credit: CityLaw.
The W New York ordered to install 19 new grease traps. On November 3, 2016, a Department of Environmental Protection officer found that the grease interceptors at the W Hotel at 541 Lexington Ave., Manhattan did not conform to DEP’s standards. The inspector directed the hotel owner to install and maintain properly-sized grease interceptors in seventeen designated locations on the first and second floor at the hotel. On March 1, 2017, a DEP officer cited the hotel for failing to comply with the order.
At the hearing, the hotel relied on a DEP publication titled “Preventing Grease Discharges into Sewers,” which stated that grease interceptors should conform with the Plumbing Code unless prior approval was received from the Department of Buildings’ Materials and Equipment Acceptance Division. The director of engineering argued that the hotel met that standard based on Buildings’ 1998 approval of the plans for the hotel’s renovation; that there had been no further renovations or changes that would trigger a need for new installations; and that the installation of the new grease interceptors would be “physically impossible.” The hearing officer ruled against the hotel, concluding that the 1998 approval did not act as an approval of the adequacy of the grease interceptors themselves.
The Appeals Board affirmed the hearing officer’s decision and held that it was not a defense to the violation that the installation of the existing interceptors in the premises had been approved by the Buildings in 1998. The Appeals Board relied on the 2014 Plumbing Code and DEP’s authority to determine the number, size, and capacity of grease interceptors. The Board imposed a civil penalty of $600 for the violation.
NYC v. HST Lessee WNY LLC, OATH Appeal No. 1700720 (August 3, 2017). CityADMIN
By: Qualia Hendrickson (Avra is a student at New York Law School, Class of 2018)