What Happens If A Grease Trap Isn’t Properly Maintained?

A grease trap is a plumbing device which is designed to capture grease and solids that enter your drainage system before they enter a wastewater disposal system. It is planned to prevent blocking and allowing less damage to your drains and pipes, in the long run, allowing clear water to pass through.

Other downfalls due to lack of maintenance include pest infestation, foul odours and of course clogging. They can be located in a variety of easy to get to places including above ground, below ground, inside the kitchen (such as under the sink) or outside the building you require it for. Benefits include less maintenance of your actual water disposal system, consequently meaning less hefty bills for your drain and pipes systems. If you decide to have a grease trap, it requires regular servicing and removal for it to continue working properly. Here at Bates Environmental, our professionals can install grease traps as well as regularly maintain them to ensure everything is in running order.

How does it work?

Grease traps work on the basic principle that FOG’s (fat, oil and grease) float on water and solid (sludge) particles sink. After intake, the trap then slows the inflow of wastewater from the initial point e.g. the kitchen sink. Doing this allows for settlement time of the FOG’s, where there is a separation of water and food particles within the unit. Therefore, making way for the element of removal when the FOG’s and solids have settled.

Grease traps were invented in the 1880s, and the ideology has much remained the same since. Whether the unit you have installed is a grease trap or grease interceptor (the difference being one is designed for a larger intake e.g. a restaurant), it all works the same -- after FOG’s have floated to the surface, and solids are at the bottom it leaves clear wastewater to flow into the sewage system.

How do I maintain it?

Regarding maintenance, it is important to distinguish between different types of maintenance. Restaurant staff for example are expected to carry out daily maintenance. Daily maintenance will typically involve emptying of food strainer and oil collection tubs and the cleaning of wiper blades.

However, planned maintenance is expected to be carried out by professionals several times a year just to ensure the grease trap remains in working order. Though the frequency of these visits will vary depending on the size and model of the grease trap, the kinds of food and preparation methods which are being used and most importantly whether daily maintenance is being observed by staff (mentioned previously).

During professional maintenance, the trap will be emptied and cleaned, then also tested each visit to ensure the unit is working properly. Not following regular guidance of maintenance the grease trap will build up FOG’s and solids and it will result in blockage, possible pest infestation, foul odours and potential fines from the council if your trap causes damage or is a nuisance to surrounding homes.

How do you dispose of it?

Disposing of waste from the grease trap is either disposed of under license via professionals, or it can be recycled to create bio-fuels and can generate an ongoing revenue stream for your site (if this is something you are interested in).

Do’s and Don’ts

Do - Hire professionals.

Don’t - Don’t attempt to do it yourself if the blockage is severe.

Do - Clean your trap daily.

Don’t - Leave it to get serious before attempting to clean it.

Do - Manually maintain your trap.

Don’t - Use solvents or enzymes to clean it (these products separate FOG’s from the water, ending in blocking).

Do - Ensure your grease trap is installed properly.

Don’t - Ignore signs, call the professionals to take a look.

Do - Use a plumbing/drainage tool to help clear blockages.

Get in touch

If you require any assistance with grease traps or drain blockages, then contact our expert team here at Bates Environmental!