Author Archives: Service Pumping and Drain Co

  1. Grease Trap Pumping Tips

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    Restaurants, food preparation companies, and institutional kitchens generate significant amounts of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) mixed with wastewater. If not handled properly, these materials accumulate quickly, causing clogs, attracting pests, and risking health department violations. All of these have a detrimental effect on operations and profitability.

    The key to managing wastewater and FOG remediation is regularly pumping out and cleaning grease traps and interceptors. Keep reading to learn more about how to maintain grease traps and how a provider like Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™ can help.

    The Importance of a Regular Pumping Schedule

    The most important step in maintaining clean and functional grease traps and interceptors is regular pumping. This prevents excessive build-up, backups, and potential pest and bacteria problems. Pumping frequency depends on the size of the grease trap and how much FOG typically goes into it.

    Large restaurants and commercial kitchens generally require pumping more frequently, every couple of weeks or monthly. Smaller operations may be able to spread pumping out to every one or two months. Local regulations may also require more frequent pumping, so be sure to check with health department guidelines.

    A good rule of thumb is to have traps pumped before their level of grease, food, and sludge surpasses about 25% of total wastewater tank capacity, or based on the trap and tank manufacturer’s recommendations. Higher volumes of grease become more costly and time-consuming to clean and pump properly. The amount of time it takes to reach the 25% threshold may vary seasonally or as business volume changes over time, so it is prudent to plan regular service at the lower end of your best estimate.

    Proper Cleaning Practices

    There are several ways to keep grease traps and interceptors sanitary and operating smoothly between pumpings, such as:

    • Scraping dishes into the trash before washing to reduce the amount of solids and FOG that enter the drain.
    • Installing strainers in sink drains to catch larger particles and keep them out of wastewater.
    • Never putting cooking or fryer oil or high-fat materials in the drain, even with running water. Collect and recycle oils instead.
    • As appropriate, using cooler wastewater temperatures, which helps separate FOG and solids from water more effectively and quickly.
    • Installing traps or interceptors that are sized appropriately for operational and wastewater volume.
    • Scheduling regular cleanings to prevent thick buildup of deposits, which reduces the trap’s usable volume.
    • Adding biodegradable degreasers or additives to reduce the environmental impact of FOG buildup in wastewater and toxic load on workers performing degreasing tasks.

    Following these tips diligently helps maintain grease traps, interceptors, tanks, and wastewater management systems. They may also help you spread out the time between service calls.

    Choose a Reputable Pumping Service Provider

    It is efficient and cost-effective to work with a professional grease pumping service. This is the best way to be sure you’re using the most efficient grease trap pumping method and preventative strategies for your particular system. Experienced providers can also determine the best schedule for your needs and ways to maximize grease trap efficiency, which can actually reduce long-term maintenance costs.

    Look for a provider who has experience with establishments similar in size and volume to yours, and verify that they’re licensed and insured. References and online reviews are a great starting point to gauge reputation and quality of service. Ask the provider for details on how they dispose of FOG materials and how they meet local environmental requirements.

    Grease Trap Pumping From Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™

    At Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™, we offer draining and septic services, as well as 24-hour emergency service. We also have our own local wastewater treatment facility for processing grease and food wastewater. Our well-trained staff and fleet of 20 service vehicles are always ready to provide top-notch pumping services and individualized attention for your business’s unique needs.

    Contact us or request a quote to discuss your grease trap pumping and maintenance schedule.

  2. Things Every Restaurant Should Know About Its Septic System

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    Your restaurant’s septic system plays a primary role in the functionality of your business. Although your septic system may not be at the forefront of your mind, it is responsible for processing all waste from diners and therefore requires special attention to ensure optimal performance. Failing septic systems can result in various consequences, including wastewater backup into your restaurant’s toilets and drains, adverse health effects, and costly repairs. Here, we will highlight three key ways you can keep your restaurant septic system in proper working order to prevent these issues.

    Have Your Septic System Routinely Inspected

    Routine septic system inspections are essential in ensuring proper function. Professional septic tank inspectors can assess the condition of your system and identify any issues with the septic tank, drain field, and other septic system components. The ability to pinpoint issues before they happen or before they grow into bigger problems will save your business a lot of time and money.

    Routine inspection of your septic system also ensures it is compliant with local commercial building codes. Restaurant owners must comply with strict health regulations regarding grease trap maintenance, as dirty and overflowing grease poses serious health hazards and other risks.

    Practice Water Conservation

    Restaurant kitchens can use high volumes of water during dishwashing periods, resulting in surge water loads. These loads push wastewater through the grease trap too quickly, meaning the grease doesn’t have enough time to separate. Without proper separation, grease can make its way into the septic tank and cause damage.

    To prevent surge loading, it’s important to practice water conservation. Try following these tips:

    • Run the dishwasher only when it is full.
    • Install low-flow faucets to conserve large amounts of water.
    • Use garbage disposals only when necessary, as they require high volumes of water.
    • Fix leaky faucets to reduce the amount of water entering the system.
    • When hand washing dishes, conserve water by washing dishes in one bowl and rinsing them in another.

    Scrape the Plates!

    Restaurants often encounter extra food on the plates when a meal is over. Although it might seem easier to rinse food debris into your garbage disposal, make sure your kitchen staff knows not to use it as a trash can. Cooking oils, gravy, cream sauces, and other greasy or ground-up ingredients can result in numerous problems for your septic tank, including:

    • More frequent pumping. Fine food waste particles can float on the effluent layer of the septic tank and enter the drain field, clogging the pores that filter wastewater. While most kitchens need to pump their septic tank every three years, septic tank professionals recommend annual pumping for restaurants that use a garbage disposal.
    • Higher risk for blockages. Certain foods can swell and cause clogs when exposed to water. For example, pasta and other starchy foods can absorb water quickly, putting you at a higher risk for troublesome septic system blockages.

    To prevent these problems, it’s best to keep food waste from entering your septic system. Rather than cleaning off plates in the sink, dispose of any leftovers in the trash before washing or rinsing dishes.

    Keep Your Restaurant Septic System Running With Service Pumping & Drain Co. Inc.

    A functioning septic system is vital to your restaurant operations. At Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc., we offer comprehensive septic services to help your restaurant reliably manage large volumes of waste. Our septic cleaning, maintenance, and pumping services ensure smooth restaurant operations as well as compliance with strict health and safety regulations.

    If you’re noticing any issues with your restaurant septic system, the experts at Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc. are here to help. For more information about our septic system services and capabilities, contact us today.

  3. Signs That Your Grease Trap Needs Cleaning

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    Commercial kitchens found in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and more rely on grease traps to effectively separate most fats, oils, and greases (FOG) from wastewater before it flows to the local sewer system. This equipment is essential in preventing sewage blockages and plays a key role in making a commercial kitchen function.

    To ensure optimal performance of your grease trap, it’s important to have it regularly cleaned by a professional. In this blog, we’ll go over the five key signs that your grease trap needs cleaning.

    Your Drainage Is Moving Slowly

    Poor grease trap upkeep is the number one contributor to clogged sink drains. Although fats, oils, and greases may be in liquid form when you wash them down the drain, they can accumulate and solidify over time. This can lead to clogged grease traps and slow drainage in your kitchen. To check for this, you can perform a simple visual inspection of your grease trap. If you see grease solidifying and forming a cap at the top of the trap, that means it’s too full and requires cleaning.

    Foul Odors

    If you’re noticing foul smells in your kitchen but can’t seem to find the source, it may be time to check your grease trap. Without proper cleaning, fats, oils, food waste, and other sludge can build up in your grease trap and rot, causing lingering odors. Strong grease trap smells are not desirable in any kitchen, and the fumes can cause health risks to workers and diners. To eliminate these unpleasant odors, schedule a grease trap cleaning service.

    Grease is Leaking in Other Areas

    When grease traps are clogged, excess grease must find a way out, typically through the nearest route available. This can result in grease leaking into other areas of your kitchen and plumbing system, which poses serious issues for your sinks, water lines, sewer pipes, and more. Therefore, if you’re noticing grease in random areas of your kitchen, it may be time to have your grease trap professionally cleaned.

    It’s Been More Than Three Months Since the Last Grease Trap Cleanout

    Government organizations, such as the Health Department and EPA, have strict standards regarding grease trap maintenance. As a general rule of thumb, you should have your grease trap cleaned every three months; however, you may require more frequent cleaning if your kitchen produces more FOG. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your grease trap, it may be time to schedule a cleaning to ensure compliance with national and local government regulations. Maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule will help you avoid issues down the road.

    The Grease Is 25 Percent of the Total Liquid Depth

    To ensure safe and healthy conditions, the EPA mandates that grease traps be cleaned when the amount of FOG exceeds 25% of the wastewater depth. If excessive FOG fills the container, it can slow down the flow of waste, resulting in bad odors in your facility, as well as many other issues. The more fats, oils, and grease you have in your grease trap, the more difficult it is to clean thoroughly. As such, it’s important to have a maintenance checklist in place so that you don’t forget when it’s time for a cleaning.

    Grease Trap Cleanout With Service Pumping & Drain

    Postponing your grease trap cleanout can lead to serious issues, including non-compliance with health codes, unsafe working conditions, temporary shutdowns, and higher maintenance costs. To prevent these problems, it’s important to schedule regular cleaning services with an experienced provider. At Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™, we have decades of experience in providing quality grease trap cleaning services to customers in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

    If you’re noticing any of the above signs, contact us to schedule your grease trap cleaning service today.

  4. How to Choose, Use, and Clean a Restaurant Inside Grease Trap

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    Grease and oil are common byproducts of commercial kitchen operations and it is imperative to understand how to manage and dispose of these potentially damaging substances properly. Pouring oil or grease down the sink can cause issues that impact the efficiency of your kitchen. Grease traps are essential for preventing plumbing problems in commercial kitchens. Typically installed underneath a sink, they reduce the water flow, allowing oils and fats to be funneled into a storage receptacle.

    What To Consider When Picking a Grease Trap for Your Restaurant or Commercial Kitchen

    There are many types of grease traps available. When selecting the most suitable type for your kitchen, several factors should be taken into consideration:

    • Size: The size of the grease trap varies depending on how much water you use. In general, grease traps should be double the average amount of water used. It’s also important to consider the number of sinks as well as dishwasher size and flow.
    • Placement: Grease traps require a large area for installation, and placement varies depending on the kitchen layout. If possible, directly beneath the sink is the best location.
    • Material: While stainless steel is a reliable choice for many kitchens, acid-resistant materials are also available and might be more suitable in certain applications.
    • Installation method: Traps should be installed with ease of cleaning in mind, and the way they connect to plumbing determines their future functionality.
    • Maintenance: Thorough, routine maintenance is the best way to ensure grease traps last a long time, without any odors. Choosing an experienced professional like Service Pumping & Drain to maintain your grease trap is essential.

    How To Clean a Grease Trap in a Restaurant or Commercial Kitchen

    The first step to cleaning a grease trap is to ensure you’re working with cold water. This allows the fats, oils, and grease (FOG) to rise to the surface. Wait a few minutes after hot wastewater has been released, and then remove the grease trap’s cover. You will see a thick layer of FOG that can be removed with vacuum pump trucks.

    Once you’ve removed the top layer, water and residual food solids will remain. A vacuum truck will come a second time and then thoroughly scrub all of the grease trap’s components before flushing it with water several times.

    How to Know if Your Grease Trap Needs To Be Cleaned

    Typically, grease traps should be cleaned once every 3 months. However, the frequency really depends on each restaurant’s usage. Some signs to look out for that indicate a cleaning is needed include:

    • Kitchen drains slowing
    • A stiff layer of grease forms at the top of the trap
    • Foul odors

    Massachusetts state law regulates grease traps and their maintenance. Specifically, regulation 310 CMR 15.351 requires grease traps to be inspected by the owner monthly and cleaned by a licensed professional when the grease is 25% the depth of the trap, or at minimum once every three months.

    Grease Trap vs Grease Interceptor in a Restaurant

    While most people use the term “grease trap” to describe anything that collects FOG particles, there are actually two distinct grease management systems. A grease trap is a device that features a flow of fewer than 50 gallons per minute. Grease interceptors have flows greater than 50 gallons per minute. Whether a restaurant needs a grease trap or interceptor depends on the flow they require.

    Grease Trap Solutions from Service Pumping & Drain

    All commercial kitchens need reliable restaurant grease trap cleaning and maintenance, not only for efficiency, health, and safety purposes but to protect the environment and comply with state laws. Service Pumping & Drain has over 50 years of experience serving greater Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. We support our customers with excellent preventative care, as well as 24-hour emergency services.

    To learn more, contact us today through our website or by calling toll-free at 800-794-9265. We are located at 5 Hallberg Park, North Reading, MA 01864.

  5. Why You Should Never Let Your Grease Trap Reach Maximum Capacity

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    Grease Trap Maintenance

    Grease traps have been an essential element in commercial kitchens for more than 100 years, separating grease from water before it can clog or damage the drains and pollute the environment. Because they play such an important role, neglecting grease traps can result in serious blockages, sulphuric acid damage, and overspills. If they impede water flow, these plumbing issues can halt kitchen operations completely. Here’s why commercial kitchen grease trap cleaning should happen on a regular basis. Grease traps should be inspected monthly and must be cleaned by a licensed septage hauler whenever the level of grease is 25% of the effective depth of the trap, or at least every 3 months, whichever is sooner. See 310 CMR 15.230 for the MA Title V regulatory requirements.

    What Is the Maximum Rate of Flow Through a Grease Trap?

    The maximum flow rate of a grease trap in a restaurant depends on many factors, including the liquid volume, waste pipe diameter, average number of customers served, and the volume of grease processed per maintenance cycle. In general, you should choose a grease trap based on your kitchen’s grease production rate and local plumbing codes.

    Your kitchen’s grease production varies depending on the kind of restaurant—for example, a smoothie bar won’t produce as much grease as a brunch eatery. Ultimately, the maximum flow rate that your grease trap can handle will depend on the design and size of the system.

    Getting a bigger grease trap than you need is not necessarily better for your system in the long run. Not only will it cost more, but it’ll also pose issues like excess hydrogen sulfide buildup and corrosion. You’ll be more likely to go longer before cleaning it, which can contribute to hazardous conditions for your workers.

    How Often Should You Empty a Grease Trap?

    In general, most commercial kitchens need to clean their grease traps every one to three months. Or, you can clean out the grease trap once it fills to a quarter of its maximum capacity, however long it takes to get there. Grease tends to smell the longer it sits in the trap, so it’s best not to let it build up past the quarter mark. If it takes longer than three months to reach a quarter full, your trap is probably too big for your kitchen. Clean it anyway to avoid bad odors, and consider changing the size of the trap.

    Problems That Arise Because of a Full Grease Trap

    Ignoring your grease trap can lead to a variety of problems:

    • Bad odors: Smells that disrupt workers or patrons can be caused by grease that has been sitting for too long or sludge buildup in your pipes.
    • Clogging in the incoming or outgoing line: The incoming line can become clogged from excess debris and stop the grease trap from working. Clogs in the outgoing line can result in overflows of both compartments of a grease trap.
    • Clogging in the compartment crossover: A grease trap is made of one compartment that separates solids from liquids and another compartment that releases waste into the sewage system. The crossover line between these compartments can become clogged, leading to an abnormally high level of liquid in the first compartment.
    • Overflow: When waste spills from one compartment to the other, the grease trap needs to be pumped and cleaned out immediately.

    High-Quality Grease Trap Maintenance by Service Pumping & Drain

    Grease traps are an integral part of clean and efficient commercial kitchen operations. For assistance on how to clean your grease trap, we’re here to help. For nearly a century, Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™ has served businesses in eastern Massachusetts with commercial pumping and drain services, including grease trap cleaning and maintenance. To demonstrate our commitment to prompt customer service, we’re also available 24/7 for emergency needs. Contact us to learn how we can help keep your business running smoothly.

  6. What Is the Best Way to Clean a Grease Trap?

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    Septic System Maintenance

    Dealing with a dirty grease trap is a messy business, but the alternative—leaving it go—can lead to obnoxious odors, clogged plumbing, and even property damage. Any of these can equal lost business in your commercial or industrial facility. Learn more about how to clean a grease trap, when to clean, and when to leave it up to the professionals. Grease traps should be inspected monthly and must be cleaned by a licensed septage hauler whenever the level of grease is 25% of the effective depth of the trap, or at least every 3 months, whichever is sooner. See 310 CMR 15.230 for the MA Title V regulatory requirements.

    What Do You Need to Clean a Grease Trap?

    Grease traps catch fat, oil, and grease (FOG) as well as food waste, separating these substances from sink, drain, and dishwasher wastewater before it flows into sewer water. To clean your grease trap effectively, needed materials fall into two categories: cleaning tools and apparel. The following aid in the cleaning process:

    • Crowbar
    • Wrench
    • Scraper
    • Shop vacuum
    • Pot scrubber
    • Dish soap

    You’ll want to protect yourself and your clothing as well, so consider PPE-related items like:

    • Gas masks
    • Nose plugs
    • Coveralls or suitable clothing covers
    • Gloves

    How to Clean an Industrial Grease Trap

    As a grease trap fills up, its efficiency declines, potentially allowing sewage waters to back up into the building’s plumbing. You can maintain your grease trap with regular cleaning, however, you should still reach out to a service company for professional cleanings. To begin, ensure that the water in your trap tank is cool and that no dishwashers and sinks are running. Next, locate your trap. They’re often under the ground just outside your facility walls, or they could be in the basement or under the sink or flooring. Once found, use a wrench or crowbar to carefully remove the lid without damaging the gaskets underneath.

    In a cool tank, FOG typically rises up to the water’s surface, making it easier to extract. Using a shop vacuum, remove this first so FOG doesn’t stick to the tank edges as the liquid in the tank drains. Then, suck out any food solids or liquids left to fully empty the tank. Clean the remaining grease from the lid, trap sides, and baffles with a scraper. Once done, utilize a steel pot scrubber to scrub all trap components with warm water and dish soap, rinsing the trap afterward to flush out the soap and any leftover waste.

    Back at the kitchen sink, release a gallon of clean water to test drainage. If the water doesn’t properly exit through the drain, there’s likely a clog that a qualified plumber will need to address. If it flows without incident, put all trap components back in place and dispose of the collected waste. For small amounts, you can mix kitty litter into the wastewater and throw out the resulting solid in a trash receptacle, but larger amounts are best handled by professional grease trap cleaners.

    How Often Should You Clean Grease Traps?

    Traps that go too long between cleanings can develop clogs that will both slow wastewater drainage and produce an offensive smell. Commercial grease trap cleaning should occur based on what’s known as the 1/4 rule, or cleaning when the trap hits about one-fourth of its capacity. This typically equates to one to three months, depending on how much grease a facility uses.

    Businesses are also subject to local or state-wide regulations for maintaining certain sanitation codes for safety and health. Working with professionals is useful here, as the service company will know all the applicable laws, have the experience to get optimal performance out of your grease trap, and help you set up a cleaning schedule.

    What Happens If My Grease Trap Overflows?

    When a grease trap has reached its limit and overflows, you risk sewer clogs, flooding, and property damage. Lingering food particles and FOG can break down trap walls over time, resulting in expensive replacements. Additionally, the horrid smell that accompanies a grease trap overflow may linger even after you’ve dealt with the problem.

    Municipalities can also levy heavy fines against your business or revoke your license for excessive FOG and food waste entering sewer water. Contact a reputable service company for restaurant grease trap cleaning before this can become an issue.

    Partner With Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™

    If cleaning out the grease trap in your commercial or industrial site doesn’t appeal to you, you can trust Service Pumping & Drain Co, to get it done right. In business since 1927, our family-owned company encompasses a fleet of 20 service vehicles and a team of more than 20 well-trained technicians to best meet your needs. We even have our own wastewater treatment plant for processing grease trap waste.

    Our team believes in providing superior customer service to our 12,000+ clients. Should the worst happen, we offer 24-hour emergency service to address unexpected problems. Contact us to set up a worry-free maintenance schedule for your commercial or industrial grease trap, and learn more about our pumping, draining, and septic services.

  7. How Often Should Your Business’s Septic System Be Pumped?

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    Your business’s septic system may be out of sight, but you definitely don’t want it out of mind. When the tank gets too full, the wastewater has nowhere to go except back into your building, potentially resulting in lost revenue and productivity as well as an expensive cleanup. Regular septic tank pumping is important to keep the system functioning properly. Here, the team at Service Pumping & Drain Co. shares how often you should pump your tank and what happens if you don’t.

    Septic Tank Pumping Frequency Guide

    In general, commercial tank pumping should be scheduled every one to three years. The frequency of septic maintenance depends on the answers to the following questions:

    • How big is the tank?
    • How many people use the tank?
    • Do the people using the tank take any medications that can negatively influence bacterial growth in the system?
    • Does the tank receive gray water from washing machines, garbage disposals, and other appliances?

    The material in the tank settles in three distinct layers: solids, or sludge, settle to the bottom;  water stays in the middle; and oils float on the top. The water and oils are dispersed into the drain field, but the sludge eventually builds up and must be pumped out before it clogs the system. The amount of time between pumping can be prolonged if you take the following precautions:

    • Stagger water use by using the dishwasher and washing machine at different times and avoid doing multiple loads of laundry at once. This gives the system time to break down solids and settle appropriately before flooding it with more water.
    • Avoid excessive use of chemicals such as cleaners and detergents as they interfere with bacteria that are responsible for keeping the system healthy.
    • Avoid flushing fats, such as grease and oil, through the system.
    • Fix leaks and other small problems immediately.

    A tank that serves a lot of people or sees a lot of chemicals may require more frequent pumping than a tank that serves a small building with no laundry or dishwashing facilities.

    Dangers of Not Pumping Your Septic Systems

    Dangers Of Not Pumping Your Septic SystemsNot regularly pumping your business’s septic tank will eventually result in a clog by allowing the sludge to build up and block the drain pipe. If this happens, you may notice the following things:

    • The smell of sewage outside or inside, particularly near the drains
    • Standing water in the drainage area
    • Lush plant growth in the drainage area
    • Slow-draining sinks and household appliances
    • Sewage backup in the building
    • Undetected sewage leaks that could contaminate groundwater or marine water

    If you ever notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, reach out to your septic professionals immediately. To avoid the complications and expense of fixing a septic clog, keep up with your septic tank pumping schedule. Doing so is much easier and more affordable in the long run.

    Let Service Pumping & Drain Co. Help You

    The well-trained team at Service Pumping & Drain Co. has been serving eastern Massachusetts for more than 85 years as a family-owned and operated business equipped to handle jobs of all sizes with personalized care and attention. We’re here for all your septic needs including routine pumping and 24-hour emergency service. Contact us today to discuss your septic maintenance needs.

     

  8. How to Implement an Effective Stormwater Management System

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    When left unchecked, stormwater can have devastating effects on private and public property, like soil erosion, flooding, and/or diminished water quality. As such, implementing an effective stormwater management system is critical. The following article provides an overview of stormwater management, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to best to implement it.

    What Is Stormwater?

    Stormwater refers to any precipitation that stems from nature, including rain, snow, or hail. In natural environments, it is largely absorbed by the ground or into larger bodies of water—such as ponds, lakes, and rivers—where it is quickly filtered and reentered into the natural water cycle. However, in more developed environments—towns and cities—fabricated structures like buildings and roads prevent the water from soaking into the ground. As a result, it has a higher tendency to flow across these surfaces as runoff.

    Runoff poses several issues to community members and businesses and the surrounding environment, such as:

    •       It picks up contaminants and debris from the ground, causing pollution levels in local waterways to increase.  
    •       It disturbs and displaces soil, causing soil erosion and sedimentation.
    •       It overfills storm drains, causing localized flooding that pours into streets or waterways.  

    All of the above issues can have devastating effects on human health and property. In particular, overflowing storm drains may result in untreated sewage entering into homes and businesses or local water sources.  

    What Is Stormwater Management?

    Installation and Management Stormwater Systems

    Stormwater management is a method of decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff that propagates in urban and developed areas to minimize the amount of pollutants entering local water sources. Some examples of stormwater management solutions include the integration of pervious—rather than impervious—surfaces to help water absorption, additional gray infrastructure—such as culverts, gutters, and storm sewers—to reduce the risk of sewer systems overflowing, and blue/green infrastructure to facilitate the maintenance of the natural water cycle.

    Ultimately, all of the above solutions seek to reduce the amount of runoff and/or pollutants entering the local water system to protect communities by preventing the following:

    •       Flooding
    •       Soil and stream erosion
    •       Water contamination

    Design, Installation, and Maintenance Considerations for Stormwater Management Systems

    Both homeowners and business owners should implement and maintain stormwater management systems on their lands to effectively safeguard a community from property damage, water pollution, and other runoff-related issues. The exact type employed depends on the particular piece of property, including its needs, the surrounding environment, and the climate conditions.

    Catch basins—also sometimes referred to as storm drains—are integral components of many public and private stormwater management systems. They are drainage structures designed and engineered for the sole purpose of collecting and detaining runoff before it is transported through a network of underground pipes, culverts, and drainage ditches to local waterways.

    Although simple in design, catch basins can be arduous to install. The installation process is as follows:

    1.     Determining and marking the installation area
    2.     Digging the hole for the basin and trenches for the drainpipes
    3.     Installing and securing the basin with gravel, stone, or concrete
    4.     Laying and attaching the drainage pipes
    5.     Testing the system
    6.     Backfilling hole and trenches
    7.     Compacting the soil to eliminate voids that could cause structural or drainage issues

    Once installed, they require regular maintenance to ensure the stormwater management system continues to run properly. At a minimum, they should be cleaned and inspected every year. Generally, such operations include identifying and removing any debris flowing through the system and material buildup sitting at the bottom of the drain.

    Service Your Storm Drain Today!

    Stormwater management systems are critical to protecting your property and the environment. In addition to proper selection, proper maintenance is key to ensuring the systems run as intended. For all your catch basin and storm drain cleaning needs, turn to the experts at Service Pumping & Drain.

    At Service Pumping & Drain, we have extensive experience cleaning catch basins, storm drains, and other stormwater management systems. Our service offerings include preventative maintenance and 24/7 emergency maintenance to ensure our customers’ systems remain in proper working order. For additional information about our cleaning capabilities, contact us today.

     

  9. Grease Traps vs. Grease Interceptors

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    Grease traps and grease interceptors perform similar functions—i.e., preventing fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from leaving a kitchen facility and entering the sewer system. These compounds are byproducts of cooking that stem from food materials containing fats and oils, such as meat and dairy products. When disposed of down a drain, they can stick to the inside of sewer pipes, which, over time, causes buildups, blockages, and other serious problems.

    The following article provides an overview of grease traps and interceptors, including what they are, how they work, key selection considerations, and who uses them.

    Understanding Each Grease Device

    What is a grease trap?

    A grease trap is a small FOG removal unit designed for use in kitchen applications where the flow of water and amount of oil and grease produced is low. It is typically installed beneath the sink inside the kitchen facility.

    How does a grease trap work?

    Wastewater flows from the sink of the drain into a tank, where the FOG hardens and the solids settle. As FOG is lighter than water, it floats to the top of the trap, allowing only wastewater to flow out into the sanitary sewer or septic system.

    What is a grease interceptor?

    A grease interceptor is a large FOG removal unit. It is generally installed beneath large-scale kitchen facilities that produce a large amount of grease and have higher flow rates and pressures.

    How does a grease interceptor work?

    A grease interceptor works the same way as the grease trap but at a much larger scale.

    Do I Need a Grease Trap or a Grease Interceptor?

    A grease trap or grease interceptor is required for any facility that pushes wastewater with fats, oils, or grease into the sewage system.

    When deciding between a grease trap or a grease interceptor for a commercial kitchen facility, there are a few factors to keep in mind, including:

    Grease Traps Vs. Grease Interceptors
    • Unit size. Grease traps are much smaller (typically about the size of bread box to a small mini-fridge), while grease interceptors are much larger.
    • Capacity/flow. Grease traps handle flow rates of 10–50 gallons per minute, while grease interceptors accommodate flow rates of more than 50 gallons per minute.
    • Pressure. Grease traps work best in a low-pressure water environment, whereas grease interceptors are more appropriate for high-pressure environments.
    • Installation. Grease traps typically are fitted beneath the sink inside of the kitchen, while grease interceptors are installed outside and beneath the concrete.
    • Maintenance intervals. Grease traps require regular maintenance every day or month (depending on size), while grease interceptors need it every few weeks or months.

    Manage Your Grease Traps & Interceptors With Help From the Experts

    When using a grease trap or grease interceptor, it is important to perform regular cleaning and maintenance operations. Otherwise, they can cause blockages, backups, overflows, and/or foul odors that can affect the quality and profitability of the food establishment, nearby buildings, and surrounding environment.

    During these operations, it is essential to take state and local plumbing codes into consideration. For example, Massachusetts’ 310 CMR 15.000 Regulation for grease trap maintenance is as follows:

    • 310 CMR: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION 15.351: Grease traps shall be inspected monthly by the owner/operator and cleaned by a licensed septage hauler whenever the level of grease is 25% of the effective depth of the trap, or at least every three months, whichever is sooner. The owner/operator shall keep all inspection and pumping records.
    • Each city and town in MA requires individual licensing and permitting for septage hauling. Make sure your hauler is licensed in your city or town.
    • Septage haulers are required to fill out a System Pumping Record and submit it to the local Board of Health or Regulatory Agency within 14 days of pumping.

    For assistance cleaning a grease trap or grease interceptor, turn to the experts at Service Pumping & Drain. We offer grease trap maintenance services for units ranging in size from 20 liters to a few metric tons. Our other service offerings include water jetting, septic system maintenance, catch basin and storm drain cleaning, and 24-hour emergency maintenance.

    As we serve the eastern Massachusetts area, we are careful to follow all applicable state codes to ensure our clients remain in compliance. We get it right the first time, so they don’t have to worry. For more information about grease traps or grease interceptors and how to maintain them, contact us today.

  10. How to Maintain Your Commercial Kitchen

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    Commercial kitchens have the capacity to produce an astounding amount of food—and an astounding amount of waste, including fats, oils, and greases (FOG). These kitchens are in use all day, and in some cases, all night as well, which only emphasizes the need for everything to be in working order.

     

    Regular grease trap cleaning and maintenance, and proper disposal of food waste are essential because not maintaining the kitchen properly can lead to sewage backups, damaged equipment, and additional problems including:

    • Bacterial growth: Both improper cleaning and the creation of bacteria-friendly surfaces lead to the growth of harmful bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens such as mold. Clogged drains, for example, trap food that can foster the growth of E. coli.
    • Bad odors: Greased-up drains and old food all contribute to rancid smells. These smells can travel out of the kitchen and drive away customers as well as make kitchen workers feel ill.
    • Damaged equipment: Backed-up drains increase the risk of sewage overflows throughout the facility. Clogs, especially if the clogging material hardens, can damage pipes, and equipment that hasn’t been maintained will not work as well.
    • Health hazards: Besides creating foul odors and sewage backups, greasy equipment and floors increase the risk of falling or burning oneself if the grease is hot. Outside the restaurant, these clogs, including the “fatbergs” that can form in city sewers, can expose the public to sewage overflows. A fatberg is a large, hardened lump of FOG stuck in a public sewer; think “iceberg” but made of kitchen grease.

     

    Cleanliness Means Efficiency

    Maintenance for a commercial kitchen is a constant and ever-evolving task. By keeping the facility clean, a restaurant or other organization that uses a kitchen makes it easier for workers to run the place efficiently and safely. Drains, pipes, and traps work better when they are not clogged with FOG and debris. And the effect even influences employees; if they know their place of work is clean and safe, then they will often do a better job.

    Regular cleaning and maintenance makes the facility look better. Proper cleaning and maintenance also keeps the facility in good standing with local and federal health and safety codes, such as those set by OSHA, the FDA, and Massachusetts Title V.

    How to Prevent Backups

    Cleaning a commercial kitchen involves shift-based, daily, and weekly tasks, as well as additional periodic tasks like inspections. After each shift, workers should clean grills, line and prep areas, slicing equipment, and cutting boards; they should also empty the trash and stock clean rags and sanitizing supplies. All uniforms that are not going home with the workers (e.g., aprons) should immediately go into the laundry pile.

    Daily cleaning includes washing hood filters and can openers and changing foil or other disposable equipment linings. Weekly tasks include cleaning the coffee machine (if there is one), cleaning ovens and sinks, deliming sinks, cleaning drains, and sharpening knives.

    Central to keeping drains clear is preventing clogs from building up in the first place. At the very least, these steps will slow down the formation of problems; however, you should still have drains and grease traps cleared regularly anyway.

    • Always wipe food scraps off plates and other dishes or cookware into the trash or a food waste recycling container—don’t try to rinse them down the drain. This includes oil; that needs to be wiped off with paper towels, too.
    • Never pour any oil or grease, or greasy foods, into the drain. Cooking oil should go into a container where it can harden and go in the trash.
    • All outdoor storage containers for oil and grease need to be covered. This prevents outdoor debris from falling in and contributing to clogs.
    • Try not to use garbage disposals. Not only can they trap bits of food and increase the risk of clogs, but food that goes into garbage disposals can still create problems down the line.
    • Keep grease traps and the areas they are in as cool as you can. Heat makes greases and fats liquefy and mix, which contributes to the formation of FOG clogs and fatbergs.
    • Set a regular schedule for grease trap inspection, which you can do yourself; grease trap cleaning, which you can hire a professional pumping and drain company to do; and septic cleaning and inspection, which you must hire a professional to do.

     

    Schedule Your Maintenance Services Today

    Service Pumping & Drain Co. offers drain and septic services to keep your commercial kitchen clean and compliant. We can perform hydro jetting to clear out pipes, drain and grease trap cleaning to prevent backups, and septic cleaning to ensure there are no obstacles in any drain line that could create backup issues in your facility.

    For more information about our services, contact us to discuss your situation and needs.

Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™ has been serving Eastern Massachusetts for over 85 years. With 24-hour emergency services and over 12,000 customers, you'll see why people have come to rely on Service Pumping & Drain Co., Inc.™ for exceptional service.