Over the last few years, every community has updated their Fats Oils Grease and Solids (or FOGS) policies as they relate to Food Service Facilities. The State Plumbing Code has always required a grease trap be attached to all three bay pot and pan sinks, but many Municipalities now require them on all food service fixtures as well as dishwashers OR that restaurants must have an exterior 1500-gallon grease interceptor to accept all kitchen waste. Surprisingly, the State Plumbing Code doesn’t mention anything about regular Grease Trap maintenance! It’s amazing the number of foodservice folks who assume the grease trap magically dissolves the collected FOGS and there is no need to ever open it!
The Grease Trap 1/4th Rule
In most communities it is required that grease traps be serviced regularly, usually when they have reached ¼ of their depth with FOGS, or every three months as a minimum. It is important to understand that every facility is different and so too is the grease trap service intervals. Sadly, many restauranteurs will simply use the guidelines mandated and not consider usage. With a few exceptions, average grease traps, regardless of manufacturer, are not effective at retaining FOGS when they have reached the ¼ rule, and FOGS then enter the waste water system and accumulate on the piping walls eventually clogging them and causing backups.
Grease Trap Sizing Vs. Usage
It is important that fixture usage be considered when estimating a maintenance schedule. Grease traps are sized by the sinks or fixtures it will be attached to, not necessarily the best indicator. A shallow spray sink before a dishwasher will have a smaller unit than the larger trap required on a 3 bay pot and pan sink. Makes sense, until you realize that the Restaurant is washing all the pots and pans in the dishwasher! The spray sink grease trap will be overwhelmed with FOGS in a few days, particularly if staff are not pre-scraping service ware, and are just allowing all the waste to go down the drain. This is the most common area in the kitchen today where blockages are a regular issue due to misunderstanding the sizing versus usage of this fixture.
Grease Trap Training for Your Staff
Best Management Practices (BMP) are the best way to prevent grease trap ‘abuse’. There are a number of FOG related videos on YouTube that should be included in Staff meetings. In addition, a Google search will offer many BMP guidelines and brochures that should be mandatory for all staff to review. Abused grease traps WILL allow FOGS to enter the waste water plumbing system where they will accumulate and eventually cause a backup, usually on a Saturday Night!
At Food Grease Trappers, we are experts when it comes to grease traps and interceptors. We have seen the horror that unmaintained and unserviced grease traps can do to a kitchen. Contact us: if you need immediate service, upgrades and replacements, or just a free consultation and service quote, Food Grease Trappers is here to provide help and insight into your restaurant’s problems.