What Do Grease Traps and Interceptors Do?
In a commercial kitchen, many things can go awry. And that is precisely why commercial kitchens have grease traps and interceptors. These two plumbing parts protect the sewer systems and the overall health of the kitchen operation.
Grease traps serve an essential purpose in your commercial kitchen. If you have ever been to a restaurant that smells foul, especially the closer you sit to the kitchen, then they are ready for a grease trap cleanout. And what is more off-putting than trying to enjoy a meal out when you have to plug your nose.
Proper grease trap maintenance will keep your place of business smelling clean and fresh, and people coming in to dine.
A bit of insider knowledge: FOG is the acronym for fats, oil, and grease used by restaurateurs and plumbers to describe the collection from the grease trap.
The types of FOG removed fall into two categories. One type is the brown grease, which is FOG that floats to the top. The second type is the yellow grease from deep frying. Both kids are bad for the environmental waterways and the sewer system at large.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) …
“The annual production of collected grease trap waste and uncollected grease entering sewage treatment plants can be significant and ranges from 800 to 17,000 pounds/year per restaurant.”
So, you can see how all that FOG could potentially hold up the sewer systems of large cities and cause significant problems.
So, what do you do if your commercial restaurant or establishment needs a grease trap or interceptor clean out and servicing? In that case, the expert plumbers at Flow Pros Plumbing are here to help. Give us a call to help your establishment be the best it can be.
What is a Grease Trap?
It is simple, really. A grease trap collects fats, oils, grease, or FOG from individual devices before entering the sewer system, causing clogs and backups. It is an essential part of any commercial kitchen due to the amount of food waste that goes down the drain.
Grease is everywhere in a commercial kitchen, from the appliances, fryers, and stovetops to the kitchen’s dishwashing areas. Even in an exceptionally clean eating, organic kitchen, the grease from cooking and natural fat from foods is strained out and must go somewhere.
Regular or passive grease traps are used in smaller establishments. They will be located somewhere in the kitchen or even behind the building near the dishwashing area.
What is an Interceptor?
The interceptor for a commercial kitchen receives all the grease from every kitchen area. It treats the wastewater before the wastewater enters the sewer system. Really, it works the same way as a grease trap, just on a larger scale.
A grease trap only has the capacity to handle a flow rate of fewer than 50 gallons per minute. Whereas a grease interceptor has a flow rate of more than 50 gallons per minute, making it more efficient for larger establishments.
Additionally, a grease interceptor is usually an underground device due to the size of the collection tank.
How Do They Work?
Both a grease trap and a grease interceptor capture the grease, fats, and oils or FOG and keep them from entering the sewer system. They do so in a large tank. The wastewater from the sink drain flows into the tank, and the grease floats to the top. At that point, the grease will harden, and the sludge falls to the bottom of the tank, creating three layers. Then the center layer, the water, can be siphoned off and directed into the sewer system. At the same time, the sludge and grease are disposed of.
Types of Grease Traps and Interceptors
For a commercial kitchen, there are three main types of grease trap/interceptors. All three serve their purpose in various sizes of commercial kitchens. Residential homes do not need them, as they do not produce enough grease to need it.
• A Passive Grease Trap is installed under a three-section sink found in commercial kitchens. They are made of plastic or metal and are used in restaurants to prevent fats, oil, and grease from clogging the sewer system.
• Grease Recovery Devices removes the grease immediately from the wastewater.
• In-ground Grease Traps collect grease, oil, lint, and even sediment. They are made of steel or fiberglass and are underground. Large establishments like hospitals and schools most often utilize these.
Does My Home Need a Grease Trap?
Most residential homes do not require grease traps or interceptors. However, there are exceptions.
• If you are on a septic tank system, you may want to consider a grease trap to protect your pipes and septic tank.
• Those who cook often may want to consider one for the health of your pipes. Many professional chefs and up-and-coming culinary artists have one installed as they do a lot more cooking than the rest of us may.
• Large families may want to install a grease trap due to the volume of food they are making each day.
• If you are concerned for the environment and meet the above requirements, you may look into a grease trap for the home. Water pollution is a real issue, as you know. What’s more, you can use the gray water on the lawn and garden.
That said, they are not necessary for homes, in general. Suppose you do want to consider a residential grease trap. In that case, Flow Pros Plumbing is more than happy to come out and assess your need and make a recommendation.
Residential grease traps sit under the sink in the kitchen usually. In some cases, the homeowner may wish to have it installed outside. Your local plumber can install it for you.
Maintaining a Grease Trap
Grease traps are essential to the proper function of our sewer systems and septic tanks. Without them, we would see many more sewer backups. No one wants that! Therefore, a qualified plumber must periodically maintain your commercial grease trap or interceptor to avoid those clogs. Just as crucial as the cleanout and maintenance of the grease trap is the disposal of the Fog. When Fog enters the sewer system, the environment can suffer greatly.
Therefore, as one of the most valuable pieces of equipment in your commercial kitchen, maintenance is necessary. When business owners fail to have the grease traps serviced, there will be a very foul odor, shutdowns, and possibly a fine to be paid. When these devices are properly maintained, restaurants have healthier and cleaner kitchens and assist in preserving the environmental waterways.
Furthermore, the more often you have the trap cleaned, the easier it is to remove the solids from the unit’s top and bottom. When restaurant owners try to save a dollar by waiting to service the grease traps, customers notice the odor. The eventual service rendered will cost even more. Lost revenue and high repair bills are not something a good business owner wants.
Here is a peek at the process.
1. First, the plumber will arrive for a consultation on all your commercial plumbing needs. When one plumbing company contracts for all the plumbing needs, that technician will become familiar with the business’s needs and be better able to diagnose any issues that arise.
2. Next, the plumber will use a pump to remove the solid contents from the trap.
3. Then, they will scrape the sides of the unit to remove any residue left.
4. At this point, the plumber will measure the amount of material removed in order to determine the length of time between your business’s service calls.
5. Now, the plumber can scrub out the parts and flush screens.
6. Finally, the parts got back into place, and the lid is replaced.
Suppose you have a grease trap needing service or maintenance. In that case, we recommend getting on a regular maintenance plan. Hence, the grease trap issues never creep up on you and your customers. Call your local plumber or the professionals at Flow Pros for a consultation and a needs assessment.
Flow Pros Plumbing Services Grease Traps and Interceptors
As you can see, maintaining your commercial kitchen’s grease traps is vital to your business’s health. No one enjoys going into a stinky restaurant. After all, eating and smelling are intimately intertwined and can ruin your night out.
The best way to avoid problems with the trap is to have a plumber scheduled to come out for maintenance on a regular schedule. With a clean grease trap or interceptor, your guests will rave over the cleanliness of your establishment.
Flow Pros Plumbing is here to help with any and all grease trap issues. We highly recommend a maintenance plan for all your restaurant plumbing needs.
Contact the friendly staff at Flow Pros to schedule a grease trap or interceptor consultation today.