or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I need to vent

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Last sunday the sewers backed up in the kitchen and it was about 110 degrees on top of that. It took the owner 4 days to get it fixed. Then I'm at worked yesterday, cooking on the line, plating a customers dinner and right at my feet is a drain which backed up all over the floor and all over my shoes. I WAS PISSED OFF! So I don't want to go back to work until its fixed but I don't think I can do that? Any Ideas on what to do? It is wrong to expect someone to work in backup sewage and a 100 degree kitchen. People have limits!
post #2 of 30
call the board of health, raw sewerage is not a good thing.
post #3 of 30
Unfortunately, what comes from text books is not always 'real world.' What I mean by that, is that raw sewage is an offense that most (all?) health departments would force the closure of a facility. I am a ServSafe instructor and it is clearly spelled out that inadequate lighting & water flow, serious pest infestation and raw sewage problems are all closable offenses. That said, unless somebody reports it, it will most likely go unnoticed.
If you report it, though, you may cause some problems for yourself. Not saying you shouldn't do the right thing, but think it through. It is very easy for folks without a vested interest to say "Close it!" from a distance, however, it is your paycheck and your name. I am not contradicting Katbalou and I mean absolutely no offense, but just take a few minutes to think things through. Venting is good. Acting on the 'vent' can pose some problems. A clear head and a warm shower is good medicine.
Keep us posted!

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page


Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

post #4 of 30
We work in an industry that is constantly pushing our limits. I suppose you have to decide where your's rest.
Chef Jim is right. Before you do anything, look at the consequences of your actions. Look at all options, try to communicate your disgust to your employer and then make a decision. Just listen to your gut and decide what is more important, to you.
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
post #5 of 30
it's harder to escape the sewage problem, than 100+ degree kitchens. The health department can stop by at anytime, and make surprise follow-ups. They can even be notified anonymously, if you would prefer them to not say who they had any tip from.

Same goes for the department of labor, just incase you wonder down the road.

Again though, think things through, do what's right in your mind and heart.
Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
post #6 of 30
My place has had that problem 3 times in the last month. The first two times we called a plumber out and got it all cleaned up. This last time we closed for the night...

The first two times it was in between lunch and dinner so it could get fixed inbetween rushes, but the third it was 6pm and we were SOL.
post #7 of 30
Wow... I dont know how well I could perform on the line if my feet were submerged in raw sewage. That sounds awful!

Jim, thats some great advice. Good luck vaderdoo. Hope everything works out for the best... and I also hope the restaurant that you are describing is not one that I have dined at recently. :eek:
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
post #8 of 30
call the board of health(o:
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hello again. Well since I wrote this nothing has changed. I took a weeks vacation and came back to the same situation. However, the sewers aren't backing up but the owner still hasn't had them looked at or fixed.

Now its a heat and low staff issue. Its a 104 here and the kitchen is unbearable with no airconditioning. In our staff room we have a small unit so once and a while I go in there to cool down. But......its broken. Hopefully today it will be fixed because I'm lossing my patience with these people.

We have only three cooks. When those two go on vacation I cover for both. The first lady takes 2 weeks then the other guy takes a week right after her. I repeatedly asked my boss to please hire more staff and nothing. So now in a 21 day period I have to work 18 days which normally I wouldn't mind. But in this heat I'm getting worn out.

Sometimes I think we cooks must be crazy to do what we do hehehe.Anyway, in August I'll be job hunting.
post #10 of 30
My former kitchen reached 120F on a bad night. I did myself some serious hurt on night, nearly going down in the heat.

My current kitchen is nice in that regard, topping out at around 85 on a bad day.

But the walk ins are two flights of stairs from the kitchen. The service elevators don't stop there, nor on one of the floors that is a major banquet venue. The elevator often fails so it's mountain goat time.

I'm there to learn from and support my curent chef, who is simply outstanding. When he goes, I go.
post #11 of 30
Ok.. now I'm curious.

Exactly what IS the problem with the drain. Especially if a plumber has fixed it twice before? Do you know how they "fixed" it? Did they use a snake to fix it? (no, not the animal, the tool) Did they pour something down the drain? Do the pipes need to be replaced? What?
post #12 of 30
The bottom line is this. It's an old drain. Full of gunk and crap that will never come out. And the only real solution is to dig up the whole thing and replace it, which the city will probably have to do.

It's a persistant problem. I haven't been in any kitchen in recent weeks that wasn't 120 degrees, so it's not the heat. But the heat can certainly add to a bad night.

I had this problem once when I worked at a country club. Every time they drained the pool, the entire lower floor would flood. And it was ugly! **** ugly!

The health department will close you on this type of situation. Calling them and asking them to do it is something that only you can decide.

I'd say, find a cool place to hang out after work. Don't say anything about to your neighbors (because you don't want to ruin the restuarant's reputation), and learn to work around it as carefully as possible until it's fixed.

post #13 of 30
Anything can be cleaned out. Every roto rooter shop has a water jet system, and a TV camera that they can snake in to look at the inside of the pipes.

Offhad it sounds like the pipe itself has failed, and the camera could find it. Ive seen this happen and seen it done.

If your grease interceptor trap is full, that can cause huge problems as well.
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Ok let me clear things up here. When I say that the owners tried to "fix" the drain I'm going by what they consider "fixing" and that would be a snake then some kind of solvent. My idea of "fixing" something means that once its fixed the problem doesn't happen anymore. The owners idea of fixing it was to do a tempory fix so at least the drain won't back up.
My manager thinks its the grease traps but the owners won't listen to what he has to say because they say its too much money.
I'm happy the drains aren't backing up at the moment because its enough work just dealing with the heat.
Keep cool all fellow cooks
post #15 of 30
If the grease traps are full, and putting grease into the city sewer system, the owners are going to be in for a big fine most likely.

If the waste pipe has failed, what happens is the pipe repeatedly fills with mud. No amount of snaking or chemicals will clear it, and it will get progressively worse.

Normally, the business or residence is financially responsible for the upkeep all the way to the sewer stub out.
post #16 of 30
do you really want to work in these circumstances? i totally understand the need for the paycheck, but the raw sewerage can make you really ill. and if you have a compromised immune system in any way, it can be really unhealthy. if it is raw sewerage it can possibly contain human feces which can harbor all sorts of lovely things. do you want to carry that home on your shoes and clothes or have it transfer to plates to the customer? i'm sure you could find another job with better working conditions all around. sounds like the owners don't respect the help very much if they continue to allow these conditions to exist. their bottom line won't exist if someone gets e-coli or something equally obnoxious and sues.
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
katbalou, I agree 100%. That's why I'll be looking for a new job as of August 1st.
Wish me luck :)
post #18 of 30
where are you located? perhaps some one on the board can help you out.
post #19 of 30

Good Luck

Have some trash bags ready to put on your feet when the drain backs up the next time and wade through all the cr** until you find other employment!

As for the heat, good flippin luck all kitchen are super hot in the summer. Your in a good way if it maintains 80 - 90 degrees. I have worked in a kitchen with temps pushing 135. heh! I adjusted after the first hour or so. Bring a dry shirt with you to put on when you leave. Also try not to walk in and out of coolers when your sweating that much. The human body just wasn't made to adjust to tempurature changes that quickly. :chef:
post #20 of 30
ahh the wonderful memories of going to the walk-in freezers at the end of a shift to pull the meat for the next nights shift, and being scared to move cause my jacket froze solid :)
post #21 of 30
There is another thing to consider in this situation! And that would be you!!! If for some reason a person gets very sick and God forbid dies from a food borne illness (Worst case scenario) . Even if the Illness is not from the sewage, the lawyers will make it to be!
Then the people there could be held partially accountable! Since obviously you knew about the problem and yet decided to do nothing about it. I can guarantee if it came down to a court battle the owner would attempt to blame as much as possible on the staff.
“Your honor I was not made aware of this problem, If I was I would have fixed it immediately and this terrible tragedy could have been avoided”.
This type of stuff makes front-page news, and you do not want to be on it!!! Since when you are accused you are on the front page, but when you are acquitted you end up on the last page.
As I learned in my line of work always CYA(Cover Your A**)!!!
post #22 of 30

Do the Right Thing!

Seriously, not only are you at risk from serious illness so could the public. Honestly, as a Chef the biggest problem is sometimes we do not want to look like the "bad guy" so. I do not know that I would call the Health Dept. But, I would really suggest doing what I could to being part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Describe to the kitchen manager what it is that is bothering you. The chain of command in this situation always works best. Alot of times managers have great repore with outside people coming into the kitchen. Do you best to try to continue your job.
post #23 of 30
Easy fix: Pour Bleach into your drains (once the plumber has been there and snaked) every morning. Get your hoods cleaned, dirty hoods=hotter kitchen. and if all else fails, start at city, then county, then state and last resort: OSHA. I've called the Health Department more than once on an employer......Best of luck!
post #24 of 30
I feel your pain! I probably sweat off two pounds every night I work! I go home looking like I took a dip in the pool.
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
post #25 of 30
and people cant figure out why we have such short tempers!!!!!
post #26 of 30
Lemme guess ... law enforcement or corrections, right?
post #27 of 30
I just noticed ... I'm able to post in the Professional Chef's forum ... mistake?
post #28 of 30
No mistake. All users are able to post in all areas. Even though the profeesional forums are generally reserved for posts by professional chefs, it's left open because you never know when the viewpoint of somebody outside the industry can help you out.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
post #29 of 30

Bleach in drains = Bad recommendation. Bleach is a strong caustic, it will tear up the pipes (unless PVC) and cause more problems. To keep pipes clear you need a solvent to break down the clogging agent. Grease can be liquified with boiling water for lack of chemicals.

Human feces in grease traps = Not likely. Plumbing codes do not allow human waste to enter grease traps. Unless a hack plumber was involved.

Best idea: When the grease trap backs up, smear as much as you can on your shoes and walk into your managers office, then clean your shoes.

But really, if the grease trap is full (of grease) it will cause the drains to back up in a hurry. Regular pumping and Best Management Practices will prevail. The dishwashers need to be instructed on pre-scraping plates/pots/pans and anything that could contain grease, into the trash can. If it doesn't end up in the drain, it will minimize problems. Of course, this is the responsibility of your manager/GM/owner. If the restaurant you work for has more value for business over the sanitation and welfare of its' workers, you need to seek employment elsewhere. Just keep your job until you have another, and take time to qualify your future employer, just like they take the time to qualify their applicants.

Good Luck.
post #30 of 30

What's the latest?

What's the latest news? Has anything changed? Did they fix the problem?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs