Restaurants that have built in grease traps or interceptors need to make sure they are maintained properly on a recurring schedule to prevent back-up and overflow into their restaurants. As the weather gets colder, the grease in the lines becomes more solid due to the lower temperatures and promotes clogging of the lines.
Depending on the types of foods your restaurant prepares and the volume of business and the type of trap you have, the optimal frequency for cleaning your grease trap can be anywhere from daily to once a year.
It’s recommended that if you have not had your grease trap cleaned recently and are not on a regular schedule then you have this service performed before your system becomes clogged with grease and overflows into your restaurant.
We have recently seen at least two restaurants that had to close their doors due to a flooded basement from a sewer backup due to a grease trap that needed service. The grease needed to be removed from the premises and properly disposed of and their sewer lines had to be power jetted to unclog the lines. This costly service and lost sales could have been prevented had their equipment been properly maintained on a regular basis.
Here’s how a grease trap (pictured at top) works: Dirty water goes into the trap from the top pipe and exits through the low pipe. The grease on the top needs to be removed before the entire trap is clogged causing the grease to block one or both of the pipes or baffles in the trap.
Some restaurants may have small grease interceptors under a sink that can be cleaned by your staff and do not require professional service. For these types of grease traps simply remove the top of the interceptor and clean out the grease basket and dispose of properly from the restaurant.
It’s important to note that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) routinely sends inspectors to verify that businesses have appropriate and well-maintained grease interceptor systems. Restaurants not in compliance with DEP regulations run the risk of being fined. The good news is that, now that you’ve been reminded, restaurants should schedule maintenance services with your local service provider.