Restaurants and other food service businesses, gas stations with a car wash, laundromats and commercial laundry services are some of the businesses required by local laws to install a grease trap or solid waste interceptor. Any businesses that disposes potentially harmful materials down the sewer are required to install some type of interceptor, because not only is it important for the health and safety of your community, but for the environment as well.
Is there a law for grease traps?
Grease interceptors and grease traps are plumbing accessories that are used to keep grease, oil and fats from entering the sewer system. Grease from a normal household does not pose a significant concern, however, in settings where there is a large amount of oil, grease and fats an interceptor is a necessary source of protection for the sewer. Although the laws pertaining grease interceptors vary from state to state, the majority of governments have guidelines in place regarding the disposal of grease as well as cleaning grease traps, maintenance of interceptors, the size of grease traps and the amount of grease an establishment is allowed to dispose in the waste water system.
Can an ineffective trap cause problems?
Oils, grease and fats can absolutely cause serious problems in the pipes of a sewer system. Grease and oils are made up of animal flesh and fats, so they are extremely difficult to dispose of in a normal method. The grease and oil are not easily broke down and can a long time to fully decompose, which sticks to the walls of sewer pipes, restricts the flow of wastewater and may cause a blockage, which results in the sewer overflowing. A grease interceptor must be in effective working order to allow for the water to drain effectively into the city’s treatment plant. It is estimated that sewers back up about 400,000 times a year in the United States as a result of grease blockage. This not only creates problems in your business, but can seep into the environment causing potential health hazards for not only your community, but surrounding communities as well. Backups and blockage also disrupt the wastewater utility operations as well as increase the requirements for maintenance and costs to the city. For these reasons, almost all municipalities require a commercial kitchen have some type of grease interceptor installed to collect the grease before it enters the sewer system.
Outside of the potential blockage and sewer backup, grease, oils and fats can become rancid, which is a noxious state of decomposition which produces toxic fumes as well as the cultivation of potentially harmful bacteria. These bacteria can pose a serious health risk for anyone that comes in contact with it, including your employees, customers and the community. The clogs, backup and overflow also create a smelly and dirty mess which can possibly damage your business, the profits, the property structure and the environment.
How often should a grease interceptor be cleaned?
Cleaning a grease trap is not a job that anyone ever enjoys doing, but it is necessary for maintaining a healthy environment. It is vital to stay current with the maintenance and cleaning of all grease interceptors and traps to prevent potential hazards. The majority of municipalities require grease traps be cleaned and routine maintenance done once each month. However, depending on the size of the trap and the volume of your business, it may be necessary to have more frequent service. As a business owner it is your responsibility to schedule regular cleaning in order to prevent odors, spill outs, blockage and pipe damage. Due to the potential hazards and health risks, grease traps must always be cleaned and maintained by a licensed and professional company that specializes in grease interceptor cleaning and grease disposal.
What happens to the grease once it is cleaned from the trap?
The waste retrieved from interceptors and grease traps is known as brown grease, which is fats, grease, oils and rotted foods solids. The brown grease is pumped out of the interceptors and grease traps by a grease pumping truck. Most of the brown greases end up in a landfill site; however, some newer facilities along with modern technology are starting to allow the brown grease to be recycled, which is often used as a biofuel.
About this author:
Green Turtle provides pretreatment solutions for wastewater in North America such as grease interceptors, grease traps and more.