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.

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