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What is a Grease Trap?

What is a Grease Trap?

Many of us love cooking. In particular, homey meals like bacon, potatoes and more that kick off lots of fats, oils and grease! Although our families and friends love these meals, our plumbing systems hate these substances. As a result, some of our favorite meals (especially during the holidays) result in clogged drains. Fortunately, for home cooks, disposing of fats, oils and grease is pretty simple. Simply pour the substances into a jar and put in the garbage. But, for larger kitchens (like restaurants, cafeterias, etc.) a grease trap (or grease interceptor) helps contain and ultimately dispose of these harmful substances.

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How big of a problem is grease?


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sewers around the US back up roughly 400,000 times per year. Additionally, about 40,000 municipal sewers overflow every year as well. As a result, the EPA determined that sewer pipe blockages, primarily caused by grease, remain the leading cause of overflows.

Furthermore, even if the fats, oils and grease do not create blockages or sewer overflows, the accumulation of these substances impact wastewater and increase maintenance of kitchen appliances. Therefore, regulations call for grease traps.

“For these reasons, depending on the country, nearly all municipalities require commercial kitchen operations to use some type of interceptor device to collect grease before it enters sewers. Where FOG is a concern in the local wastewater system, communities have established inspection programs to ensure that these grease traps and/or interceptors are being routinely maintained.”

What is a grease trap?

A grease trap intercept most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater disposal system. Grease traps are also known as:

  • grease interceptor.
  • grease recovery device.
  • grease converter.

Why do we need grease traps?

Lots of wastewater contains small amounts of oils and grease particles that enter the water supply through septic tanks and treatment facilities and ultimately form a floating scum layer. Eventually, microorganisms slowly break down the scum layer. However, large amounts of oil from food preparation in restaurants often overwhelm a septic tank or treatment facility. This causes the release of untreated sewage into the environment. Plus, high-viscosity fats and cooking grease, such as lard solidify when cooled, and combined with other disposed solids block drain pipes.

How does a grease trap work?

During the cooking process, the clean byproducts, grease and food particles must be separated prior to entering the water supply. Grease traps capture the particles and allow the grease, fats and oils to separate from the solid food.

“When the outflow from the kitchen sink enters the grease trap, the solid food particles sink to the bottom, while lighter grease and oil floats to the top. The relatively grease-free water is then fed into the normal septic system. The food solids at the bottom and floating oil and grease must be periodically removed in a manner similar to septic tank pumping.”

Additionally, the size of a grease trap makes a difference. For example, recently, restaurants trend towards larger grease traps in the name of efficiency. Cleaning a grease trap takes work, so the theory of a larger trap means less frequent cleaning. However, larger tanks typically mean more food waste settles at the bottom of the tank and reduces the amount of volume in the grease trap. Along those lines, rotting food within a grease trap results in toxic waste (such as sulfur gases) that produces rot out of the tank.

How can SolvIt help?

Having your grease trap or interceptor cleaning and maintained in a timely manner helps eliminate costly problems. Improper pumping or lack of service remain the two main causes of overflowing grease traps.For example, failing to routinely clean a grease trap causes clogged and overflowing plumbing lines. Plus, the grease trap eventually releases some very unpleasant smells.

At SolvIt, we provide a very thorough grease trap cleaning and interceptor pumping service. For the best results, we’ll analyze your grease trap maintenance needs and recommend a preventative maintenance schedule to help you avoid emergency situations. Owning and operating a restaurant is challenging enough. So, let our skilled technicians overcome one of those challenges for you with ongoing and professional grease trap cleaning and maintenance.

Our technicians will help you fix your grease trap and other plumbing issues in your house. Our team of emergency plumbers in Waterbury, CT and other areas are licensed, certified, bonded and insured. We take pride in our customer service and professionalism, so we’ll show up in uniform and with a clean, identifiable and fully stocked van that helps complete about 90% of jobs on time. This includes those unwieldy drain and sewer repairs. Need some plumbing help, including grease trap cleaning? See our service area and schedule an appointment today.