If you have just opened a restaurant or have operated one for some time, you need to know the location of your grease trap and its maintenance schedule. If you do not and fail to tend to this maintenance issue, you may find yourself ankle deep in a sewer backup that can disrupt the operation of your business. If this happens on a Friday night, with a full house and tables turning, it can be costly in more ways than one.
If you own a restaurant and do not know what a grease trap is and what it does, read on because you need to know, and you need to know now.
Your Restaurant’s Grease Traps
An integral part of some commercial plumbing at Sacramento restaurants, bars, and other establishments grease interceptors, more commonly known as grease traps are required by building code. Any facility that produces fatty waste that enters the drains from pot sinks, three compartment sinks used for food prep, may be required by code to enter a grease trap before entering the public sewer.
The grease trap works by preventing fats, oils and grease from clogging public sewage lines and getting into water sources. State and county authorities regulate the size, placement, and requirement for grease traps. A grease trap has two chambers and works by allowing grease to cool to room temperature so that it solidifies and floats to the top of the trap. This allows fluid to freely flow throw the bottom, free of grease and oil that has solidified at the top of the chamber.
Using tubes to connect the two chambers, water from the bottom of the first chamber flows into the second chamber and leaves most oily byproducts behind.
The grease trap is designed to hold a certain amount of waste but requires periodic cleaning. If it is not cleaned you may end up with a scenario like the one mentioned above and find yourself in greasy water up to your ankles, in the middle of rush hour. Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your grease traps from clogging up your commercial plumbing.
What You Need to Know about Commercial Plumbing
The size and placement of these plumbing devices are determined by code and large facilities, with multiple kitchens and prep areas may have more than one grease trap, with some being interior traps connected to a larger exterior trap. Knowing the location of your commercial plumbing system parts can help you prevent problems before they erupt and threaten your day-to-day operations.
Preventative Maintenance for Restaurant Grease Trap
Preventing a sewer backup before it happens is the best practice. Here are a few steps that you can take that will help keep greasy water and food solids flowing freeing through your grease traps follow:
- Locate your grease trap(s) and inspect them
- Locate any documentation that lets you know when your grease traps(s) were last cleaned
- Schedule for cleaning the grease interceptor(s) when they are approximately a quarter full of grease and oil
- The suggested clean out schedule your grease trap(s) is approximately every three months. This schedule is determined by the amount of business in your establishment and the size of the trap
What to Do if your Grease Trap Overflows
- Stop any water from flowing into the kitchen drains
- Call a plumber to inspect your commercial plumbing
- Use cat litter to absorb any spilled grease
- Do not hose greasy waste into storm sewers if you have a spill
- Have lines from the grease trap to the sewer cleaned and the lines from the trap to the building cleaned after an overflow
Professional plumbers can use high-tech equipment, like video line inspection, to inspect your commercial plumbing pipes. This will let you know if the lines are clear and not full of grease and waste from a grease trap that has not been kept clean. Setting your business up on a preventative maintenance program with a Sacramento plumber can help you prevent overflows and sewage back-ups before they occur with scheduled inspections and grease interceptor pump outs.
Keep Your Commercial Plumbing Flowing Freely
Sewer overflows can pose a risk to your employees, your customers, and your business. Maintaining the grease trap and commercial plumbing of your bar, restaurant, or other food service facilities should be part of your overall maintenance program.
The local EPA monitors sewage overflows and you can be cited for any spillage that affects the local sewer system. The cost for commercial plumbing maintenance is far less than clean up and fines that you might accrue due to an overflowing grease trap.