Grease Traps: 101

Your grease trap is one of your kitchen’s most valuable assets. Keeping it properly maintained prevents a whole host of issues, from unpleasant odors to shut-downs and even fines. With so much riding on your trap, you need a vendor you can trust to keep it in working order. SeQuential’s restaurant grease trap services help keep your trap in prime condition, giving you one less thing to worry about. Read on for everything you need to know about maintaining your grease traps.

What is a grease trap?

internal grease trap under kitchen sink

A grease trap, sometimes referred to as a grease interceptor, is a plumbing device designed to capture fats, oils and greases (FOG) before they enter the wastewater system. There are two primary types of grease traps. Interior traps are usually located in the kitchen area near the sink or dishwasher, and tend to hold smaller amounts of FOG. Exterior traps are located outside your building, underground. Exterior traps are much larger, holding thousands of gallons. Many cities require grease traps to be used in commercial kitchens, as they play a critical role in preventing costly sewer problems.

Why do I need regular grease trap cleanings?

As water from your sink passes through your grease trap, FOG will accumulate and make it more difficult for water to drain. This causes the trap to fill up. By having your trap regularly cleaned, you prevent it from overflowing and avoid expensive plumbing bills. Regularly cleaning your trap also reduces odors, which can be off-putting to your customers.

How frequently should I clean my trap?

Cleaning frequency will vary depending on the size of your trap and the amount of grease used in your kitchen. Most cities required restaurants to clean their trap frequently enough to maintain less than a specified level of FOG accumulation. This usually results in cleaning at least once each quarter, and sometimes as frequently as once a month. When you sign up for SeQuential grease trap service, your Account Manager will inspect your traps to determine cleaning frequency.

What happens if I get off frequency?

Failing to clean and service your restaurant grease trap at the proper interval is not ideal. Not only do you increase your risk of smells and overflows, you may be fined by your municipal grease inspector for allowing fats to make their way into the sewer system. Moreover, FOG hardens as it accumulates, making it more difficult to remove and increasing the time it takes to clean the trap. Most vendors charge for the extra time required to remove the hard grease if your cleaning takes significantly longer than expected due to a lapse in maintenance.

What should I expect during a SeQuential grease trap cleaning?

When your SeQuential service technician arrives to clean your traps, they’ll first open the trap and take a picture. This is to document what the trap looked like when they arrived. They’ll take another picture once your service is complete, so you can be sure that everything was done properly. After documenting its pre-service condition, the technician will begin to pump out your trap, making sure to scrape the sides to remove any accumulated FOG. They’ll also measure the contents to determine whether you meet your municipality’s requirements. If you don’t, they’ll make a note for an Account Manager to follow up with you to reassess your cleaning frequency.

Once your trap has been completely pumped out, the technician will take a picture and complete a FOG report noting the details of your service. You’ll receive a copy of this report shortly after your service. If your city requires a copy of your FOG, we can submit it for you. That’s it! Still curious about the process? Check out our video on the right side of this page to see a SeQuential grease trap cleaning in action!

Interested in using SeQuential to service your grease traps? Fill out the form above to get started today!