How do grease traps work?
Why are grease traps needed?
Grease traps, or interceptors, are a required part of the plumbing system for food establishments. Fats, oils and grease must be captured before they can clog up your sewer lines and causing unsanitary flooding. Since grease can clog up the city sewer lines and treatment plant, your local sanitation district requires periodic grease interceptor pumping.
How do grease traps work?
Drain lines from your kitchen sinks empty into a grease trap through the inlet tee. As the water slows down, food solids drop out and fall to the bottom of the trap. Grease and oils float to the top of the water and are “trapped” because the layer of water holds the grease layer above the outlet tee. Extra water exits the trap through the outlet tee.
What can go wrong?
If the trapped is not pumped when needed, the grease and food layers become too thick. Grease escapes through the outlet tee, and soon your sewer pipes become clogged with grease. When the pipes downstream are blocked, wastewater will flood out of the grease trap, drains and other fixtures. This is an unsanitary condition and might cause your kitchen to be shut down.
How often should my trap be pumped?
A deep layer of water is needed for the trap to function correctly. The trap should be pumped as soon as the grease and food layers take up 25-33% of the space in the trap. The frequency will depend on:
- The size of your trap or interceptor - Small traps under the sink or floor can become over-full very quickly. They might need pumping every month or even twice a month. Larger interceptors are usually started on a quarterly schedule, which is adjusted as actual usage is determined.
- The amount of food prepared - If you are having a busy season, you should increase how often your trap is pumped, in order to avoid a back-up. Busy times are the worst times to have a flooded kitchen.
- The type of food- Even the finest restaurants generate some grease waste in the form of butter, oils, salad dressings, meats, sauces, frostings and other food products.
- Cleaning practices - Scraping dishes before they are washed will keep a lot of food and grease out of the drain lines. Fryer oil and other high-fat liquids should never be poured down the drains.
Do I need to do anything else?
The inlet and outlet lines of a grease interceptor often become clogged with grease, especially if the interceptor is not pumped often enough. Inlet and outlet lines should be cleaned frequently.
The other drain lines in your establishment also need cleaning. The frequency depends on usage, the amount of “fall” in the lines, and other conditions. It is recommended to clean these other sewer lines at least once a year, and more often if you experience any problems.
Call Clearwater Cleanup Company at 970-453-8875.
We can answer all your questions and get you started on a trap pumping schedule that will meet your sanitation district requirements and help you avoid sewer back-ups.
We provide the following grease trap services:
- Pumping- We can quickly pump and clean any interceptor to the bottom, regardless of size or inflow.
- Inlet and outlet line cleaning - We can clean these lines with every pumping.
- Sewer line cleaning- Our powerful jetters will restore your lines to near-new condition.
- Grease trap repairs and replacement- Our powerful jetters will restore your lines to near-new condition.