Grease Trap Cleaning Services
Grease traps are a necessary evil for restaurants and businesses everywhere. Without proper maintenance these wastewater filters can disrupt business operations and potentially incur fines for illegal dumping and groundwater contamination.
Grease trap waste must be disposed of properly, but cleaning traps is not only unpleasant, but often difficult and time consuming.
Leave it to the professionals. Prevent costly clean-ups and expensive disruptions with regular grease trap cleanings from Hall’s Septic Services. We’ll clean, pump and haul your grease trap waste so you can focus on what matters—growing your business.
Commercial & Restaurant Grease Trap Cleaning
How often do you think about cleaning your “grease trap?” It’s probably not first on your list, but most culinary businesses rely on their food tasting the best it can and in turn the loyalty of their customers, which means, maybe it should be top of mind.
The general rule to cleaning a grease trap is once a month. However, it depends on two things 1) the size and 2) the activity level of your business or how often you are using the grease trap. A better measurement of when it needs attention is to note that when the quality of the grease in the trap reaches the 25% mark – it’s time for a cleaning.
If you’re not getting regular maintenance cleanings of your grease trap or worse, if you’re cooking without one, your business is in jeopardy. You could be ruining your entire plumbing system along with risking probable municipal penalties and hefty fees.
Grease traps need to remain clean. If the trap isn’t maintained, the grease becomes thicker and hardens, clogging the main sewer line where it can back up and overflow into the business or into the parking lot. If this happens, not only will the Health Department shut down the restaurant, but it will turn customers away and leave a stain on the business’ reputation.
Using a professional grease trap cleaning service, especially on a reoccurring maintenance & pumping contract, will prevent these issues and alleviate the stress of scheduling each cleaning when it comes time. Whether it’s once month, bi-monthly or quarterly – getting the opinion and recommendations from a company that is experienced will help you restaurant or culinary business save time and prevent unnecessary expenses.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, I’ll just clean the grease trap myself and save money there,” think again. A roll of paper towels and a bucket won’t do the job. You’ll most likely end up spending more money on equipment and time spent which are typically viewed as the two most valuable resources a business has.
Hall’s Septic Services has over 25 years of experience, and we’re equipped to handle any grease trap cleaning job. The value we offer is in our fast, reliable response times – we can also be there in an emergency situation 24/7 – as well as the in the quality of our work.
Grease Trap Sizing and Types
There are two types of grease traps: above ground and below ground. The grease traps mostly serviced by our company are below ground and accessed via a manhole.
Passive/above ground grease traps – Dependent on the size, these types of traps can be located either inside or outside. Traps are made of several different materials including metal, fiberglass or sometimes PVC. Traps installed inside are typically for smaller capacity kitchens and need to be cleaned more regularly than most grease traps. Traps located outdoors are usually more significant – some even modular so there is an opportunity for expansion over time based on the flow of business traffic.
Below ground grease traps – These traps are larger than above ground types and are made of either metal, concrete, fiberglass or PVC. The larger the trap, the more, fat, oil and grease (FOGs) that will move through your trap, GPM (gallons per minute).
Here are two diagrams that show where the grease collects within the trap until it’s time to be removed.
When it comes to choosing the right grease trap size as mentioned above, it depends on the rate of incoming flow measured in GPM, of wastewater. For example, if you have a 10 GPM trap – it will hold a 20-pound capacity of FOGs.
If you’re a restaurant owner, something else to consider when sizing your grease trap is whether or not the trap is specific for a pot washing stainless steel sink or a dish machine. The Plumbing and Drainage Institute (PDI) recommends you round up when calculating the correct size grease trap you’ll need. However, be sure to check with your local authorities before your purchase to ensure you’re within the city guidelines, performing these calculations beforehand can save you time and money from having to return the wrong sized trap, or worse, pay costs to uninstall the wrong grease trap and install the right one.
The Importance of Grease Traps and How They Work
Grease traps have been around for quite some time. In fact, according to Wikipedia, they go all the way back to the Victorian days to when Nathaniel Whiting received the first patent for a grease trap in the late 1800s.
Mostly used by restaurant and food service kitchens, grease traps prevent clumping, blockage and sewer back-up. In the US, sewers back up annually an estimated 400,000 times and municipal sewers overflows on 40,000 occasions stated by the US News & World Report in 2000. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2004 Report to Congress: impacts and control of CSOs and SSOs proves that sewer blockages are the leading cause of overflows and that grease is the primary cause. It’s estimated that 50% of all sewer overflows are caused by grease, with over 10 billion US gallons of raw sewage spills annually.
Pretty gross right?
It’s obvious how vital grease traps are and how they can help predict and prevent a significant issue – backing up your pipes and your business.
Grease traps are designed to capture and retain waste (FOGs) as a result of cooking with oil, animal fats, and other greasy solids or liquids. So, how do grease traps work? Let’s find out more about the process by looking at the flow stages of wastewater.
- Stage 1: Waste and water from drains, dishwashers, sinks, and floors flow into the grease trap or interceptor system.
- Stage 2: Wastewater then flows to an interior or exterior grease trap – this can be inside or outside depending on the capacity of your trap. A baffle is used to separate the inlet and outlet – keeping grease inside – staying away from the city sewer.
- Stage 3: As time passes inside the trap, grease floats to the top of the trap and solids settle towards the bottom. This type of separation requires the trap to be vacuum pumped on a regular basis by a professional (like us!) to remove the trap contents and allow for continued use – and more business!
- Stage 4: The final stage of this process is clean water flowing into the sewer or septic system.
Grease traps are very important, and the level of significance is not going away. A good trap can make or break a business. Invest in learning more about grease traps and how they can help you sustain your business efficiency and how your business can help to protect the environment. Use sustainability as a selling point with your customers – let them know you’re responsible and respect mother-earth balancing cost and efficiency.
Grease Trap Cleaning and Maintenance
You know by now that cleaning and maintaining a grease trap is essential, but let’s dive a little deeper.
First of all, if you do not have regular maintenance set-up for your trap, you should be aware of the warning signs that it’s time for a cleaning or a repair (by the way, regular maintenance would help prevent this). Keep an eye out for one or any of the following signs.
- Backed-up drains or toilets
- Foul odors
- Gurgling noises
- Slippery or greasy floors
Cleaning a grease trap involves a few steps – depending on the size (there’s that size again!) and type of trap. Most cleanings include emptying or vacuuming the trap, testing the water flow to ensure there are no leaks or other potential issues, and finally, a complete and thorough cleaning of the trap with a non-enzyme, non-acidic solution. Once the trap has is clean, the sludge or FOGs collected from the trap are hauled away and disposed of properly.
Preventative maintenance is the best advice when it comes to keeping grease traps clean and healthy. Some cleaning services offer extra perks or bonuses when you engage with a maintenance program, so you have options to save even more of your time and money.
Most municipalities require a monthly grease trap cleaning so be sure and check with your local municipal sewer district, local health board, and environmental regulations to ensure you are compliant and to avoid any business interruption.
Take it a step further and help improve the efficiency of your grease trap and its maintenance cleanings by following this list of what NOT to do.
- Do NOT use boiling water to wash down FOGs. It liquefies it and allows it to pass through the buffer and into the sewer system
- Do NOT connect your garbage disposal to the trap
- Do NOT hook up a dishwasher to a grease trap
- Do NOT pour any chemicals or cleaning solutions down the drain as these destroy natural bacteria and can cause damage to the environment
Be proactive and sign up for a regular maintenance cleaning and testing of your grease trap to eliminate any unwanted issues. Keep your business open, serve more customers with the peace of mind that your grease trap is happy and healthy.
Grease traps are not something to take lightly and can drastically affect the flow of your business and its success. We’d love to help resolve your grease trap concerns. Please Contact us to schedule a free grease trap cleaning estimate and we can discuss the details of our maintenance contracts.
Give us a call at 410-838-0046410-838-0046 today!