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Why Restaurants Need To Clean And Maintain Their Grease Traps

Grease trap systems do more than filter cooking oils and other forms of grease that are disposed of down restaurant dishwasher and sink drains. They prevent greasy waste from entering the public sewage system and causing problems. Restaurants that don't dispose of grease properly also may be in violation of local and state health codes.  

The Need to Clean a Grease Trap

Besides it being the law, a restaurant needs to routinely clean out its grease trap for several reasons.

  • A clean trap reduces the number of bacteria present in the kitchen, which can contaminate food as it is prepared

  • Grease buildup in the trap can cause a foul odor

  • Regular cleaning of a grease trap helps keep the plumbing system working more efficiently

  • Cleaning leads to early detection of problems, such as broken parts, or signs that the grease trap is wearing

What Can Happen

If a restaurant does not regularly clean its grease trap, fats, oils, and greases can get into the drains and clog the building's sewage system. And the problem may not stop there. A buildup of grease can cause a sewer backup into the restaurant, which can lead to costly repairs. Additionally, the local health department may fine the restaurant for not keeping its grease trap clean. It also may be necessary to close the restaurant temporarily.

Fats from food scraps and cooking can lead to sewer blockages in municipal sewer lines  as well. As a result, manholes can overflow, causing property damage, health hazards, and other environmental problems.

How the Problem Occurs

Warm fats and grease that enter the drain pipes from sinks harden as they cool. Grease that sticks to the inside of sewer pipes builds up over time, causing blockages, and can eventually block the entire pipe. Even cooking oils that do not solidify when they cool can stick to other forms of fat and grease accumulating on the inside of drain and sewer pipes.

Why Choose Professional Cleaning

Although some restaurants may choose to delegate staff to clean the grease traps to save money, it's messy business. Properly disposing of the grease is another issue, as grease and food residue from the trap can't simply be put out with the trash.

Because of the large quantities of greasy waste that a restaurant puts down its kitchen drains, it usually takes a professional company to clean out the grease trap system that separates grease, fats, and solids from the waste water going down the drains. Professionals also do more than empty the trap; they inspect it.

State and municipal laws often mandate how often a restaurant needs to have its grease trap cleaned. The use of a professional cleaning service helps keep a restaurant in compliance with local and state food safety and health codes.