If you are a new restaurant owner or if you are simply just curious, you may be asking the question, “how often does a grease trap need to be cleaned?”
First of all, we need to start with the fact that grease traps absolutely have to be cleaned on a regular basis to comply with the requirements of health departments and other governing agencies over food service throughout the United States. Each state and city has some of its own requirements that restaurant owners must meet to be in compliance and restaurant owners should check into those requirements to ensure they are cleaning their grease traps often enough.
When restaurant cooks and chefs fry up their amazing foods to serve to guests, all of those fats, oils, greases, and solids, also referred to as the acronym of FOGS, end up in the drain of the kitchen. The grease trap then catches all of it so it does not make its way into the main city sewer systems, which can create clogs and many issues for residents throughout the area. Restaurants, diners, delicatessens, and an array of other food service-related businesses can be forced to pay stiff fines if a grease trap is not working properly and ends up causing a blockage in the sewer lines of the city or other municipality.
However, in this article, we will explore many of the facts surrounding the cleaning of grease traps and how often they should be cleaned.
Table of Contents
How Does a Grease Trap Function?
An entrapment for grease, which is exactly what a grease trap is, traps grease but still allows water to sink to the bottom and continue on down a pipe into the sewer waste system. The grease will stay at the top and then is able to be removed. It is mandated that restaurants and other places have a grease trap in place to stop grease from causing sewer backups or even sewage water overflows. It is also mandated that grease traps be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent any blockage issues from occurring in the future. The grease traps must meet certain requirements, such as the design of it as well as a minimum size of about 250 gallons to 2,500 gallons, depending on the size and location of the food establishment.
How Frequently Should a Grease Trap be Cleaned?
When it comes to grease traps, the frequency of cleanings with industrial cleaning products will vary depending on how much grease, fats, oils, and solids a restaurant produces. For example, a coffeehouse is not going to produce as much waste, so the grease trap will not need to be cleaned very often, whereas a restaurant that has a full-service menu will need the grease trap cleaned down on a much more regular basis. Most restaurants, cafeterias, and other commercial kitchens already have a service schedule in place so that no cleanings are missed.
The internationally recognized standard for grease trap cleaning and maintenance is the one-quarter rule. This means if 25 percent of the grease trap is filled with fats, oils, grease, and solids, it will require prompt cleaning. This is because a grease trap that is more than one-quarter full will not operate effectively any longer. The grease will start to leak into the city sewer system which can cause clogs throughout the lines.
If a restaurant or cafeteria produces enough grease to fill up the grease trap when it reaches its one-quarter level within a month, the establishment may need to spring for a larger grease trap. An appropriately sized grease trap is determined by the type of food establishment it is, the amount of fats, oils, grease, and solids it produces, its water use, and the city regulations that will dictate how large or small the grease trap can be to stay in compliance with the requirements of the municipality.
Maintenance is Important
It is important for restaurant owners to keep grease traps maintained properly. They should be examined on a regular basis for wear and tear or any damage that is present. Sink drain covers should be in place to reduce the number of food particles that can enter the drain and no grease should be emptied into the sink since it will solidify while traveling through the drain and can cause blockages to occur. All kitchen employees should be trained on these different practices and policies to ensure that food waste and cooking grease are handled properly.
Who is Responsible for Cleaning Grease Traps Cleaned Out?
The cleaning of grease traps involves more than just cleaning them out. There should be proper record keeping in place and certain cleaning techniques and proper disposal should be used to comply with municipal regulations so that heavy fines are not imposed. There are professional service companies that restaurants can contract with to clean out commercial kitchen grease traps to abide by all of the local laws. There are different pumping methods that can be used also.
Cleaning grease traps involves record keeping, proper disposal, and cleaning techniques that should follow municipal regulations. If ordinances are not followed, heavy fines are imposed. Professional services are available to clean commercial kitchen grease traps while abiding by local laws.