EVERETT GREASE TRAP & INTERCEPTOR SERVICES
Everett Grease Trap Pumping FAQ
Here are some answers to many frequently asked questions you may wish to consider concerning your inquiry with us regarding your food service establishment grease trap or grease interceptor cleaning service requirements.
What is a grease trap?
Every business or establishment that produces and disposes of fat, oil or grease (FOGs), such as restaurants, food processing establishments, hospitals, and day care and senior centers, must have a grease trap or interceptor system to prevent the discharge of waste grease into the City of Everett sewer systems. Grease interceptors prevent FOGs from entering and clogging sewer lines by separating the FOGs from the normal wastewater stream. Grease interceptors should have all grease removed as frequently as necessary to avoid exceeding the interceptor’s rated capacity. The city of Everett routinely sends inspectors to verify that such businesses have appropriate and well-maintained grease interceptor systems.
Is a grease trap used for grease disposal?
Cooking oil and grease are wastes that the Everett City’s sewer system cannot handle and should not be discarded down the drain. Dumping grease, fats, and oil can clog sewer lines, causing sewage back-ups and flooding. Sewage back-ups can damage personal and public property. Do not dump cooking oil, poultry fat and grease into the kitchen sink or the toilet bowl.
Why are grease traps required?
All restaurants and food processing facilities in Everett are required to install grease traps so that greasy materials will be separated from wastewater before passing to communal sewers. Restaurants and the food processing industry are the main sources of greasy waste and therefore it is very important that the grease traps used at these establishments are effective in removing grease from wastewater before it passes to the sewer system. Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services stays informed about all legal requirements related to grease traps to help you abide in the law.
How does a grease trap work?
A grease trap is most commonly a two-chambered tank positioned along the wastewater drain pipe. Wastewater slows down as it moves through the compartments of the trap, allowing time for less dense material to separate and rise to the liquid surface. Liquid and solid grease as well as light waste particles will be held in the trap while the wastewater below passes out. A grease trap should be able to hold all the kitchen wastewater entering it during times of maximum water use. A grease trap connected to a single sink should not be smaller than 55 gallons. Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services abide by all pertinent laws.
What can I do to maintain my grease trap?
Greasy waste that accumulates in the grease trap must be removed regularly. The frequency of cleaning will vary depending on the type of food served and how active your business is. Regular cleaning by Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services keeps a grease trap working properly and will prevent clogging in kitchen drains and pipes. Every grease trap is different and must be professionally inspected regularly to determine if cleaning is required.
You can do your part to help immensely by performing the following steps:
● Scrape dirty serving dishes and cooking utensils into a garbage bin before washing.
● Dispose of floor sweepings and food scraps to a garbage bin before washing floors and food preparation surfaces.
● Use metal strainers or baskets in all drains. If this slows things down, keep two strainers on hand; quickly place one over the drain while the other is emptied.
● NEVER pour waste cooking oil down a drain or toilet. Waste oil and grease should be poured into a storage container which is discarded with other solid kitchen waste.
● Take care not to discharge excessive quantities of detergent and/or hot water as these are also considered to be pollutants.
Can you recycle trapped grease and how is it used?
Waste grease from a commercial kitchen or food serving establishment is commonly recycled and is a valuable commodity for making bio-diesel fuel, soap, soil additives and other purposes. The proper disposal of kitchen grease is recycling. Recycling food grade oil and grease will greatly benefit both the public sewer system and the environment.
A service provider who is collecting your used cooking oil or fat and bone scraps for use in animal feed, may also service your trap, but separate vehicles are used, and the trap material cannot be taken to the same facility where the cooking oil or meat fats are being processed. Trap grease cannot be used for animal feed or pet food, nor can it be processed at facilities where animal feed or pet food ingredients are made.
While it is rare, trap grease can be recovered and recycled. The removed material is referred to as “brown grease” and it most often simply disposed of at a licensed waste facility.
What size of grease trap do I need?
The first is how large is your business and what sort of cooking / food etc. Basically – the more the food waste – the larger the grease trap you will require. If you get a trap too small – it will likely need cleaned very often – for example some kitchens have traps as small as 20 or 40-gallon capacity.
There are some things you should consider before getting the trap installed. Call Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services for a free consultation, and we will determine how often it needs to be cleaned – we will do a calculation based on the type of waste you produce and the size of the trap.
If you have a massive trap, it will cost more than a much smaller one, but you will save money because it will have to be cleaned much less frequently. Where the trap is positioned will also influence costs -the best place is outside at the back of the restaurant where the pump truck can easily access it at night. If in the kitchen – it will be trickier and a bit costlier.
Where can I get a grease trap?
Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services does not sell or install grease traps. This must be done by a licensed plumber, who is familiar with all local health and safety regulations. The size of a trap will depend on the size of your store, water usage, and grease volume. In most cases, city regulations will determine what size trap required.
Once your trap is installed, call us at Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services to help you determine an efficient schedule for trap maintenance to be certain your establishment stays in compliance with the law and your trap functions at peak efficiently. Regular maintenance will also help alert you to any problems before they can turn into costly issues.
How often should grease trap cleaning services be scheduled?
The more grease your establishment produces, the more often it will need to be cleaned and serviced. So, generally it depends on the size and how much grease it can process. Call us for a free consultation and estimate, and we will come out and formulate the correct schedule that meets your needs.
How is a grease trap cleaned?
A grease trap must be cleaned before the grease and solids, combined, reach 25% of the trap’s liquid volume or every four weeks, whichever is earlier. A cleaning frequency of every eight weeks is permitted if the volume of waste grease produced is below a certain threshold.
Generators of grease trap waste are responsible for the waste from the time it is created until disposal is completed. Therefore, it is essential for generators to use qualified contractors to pump out waste properly, clean grease traps completely, so they function properly, and transport the waste safely to the ultimate disposal facility.
Cleaning must be performed by a licensed waste hauler with an approved license from the city of Everett. Both vaults of a grease interceptor must be left completely empty upon completion of pumping operation. The grease mat, liquids, sludge, and scrapings from the interior walls must be removed. Under no circumstances, may the waste water or materials be reintroduced into the City’s sewer system, other than at qualified disposal facilities. If neglected too long, grease will solidify and get caked in every line that leaves the building or runs to the grease trap. Once this happens, there is no easy or inexpensive solution. A repair can be costly and can easily reach thousands of dollars in repairs.
There are two general methods employed in the cleaning of a grease trap. These include:
● Pump and Return. The fats, oils and greases (FOG material) are removed and taken away with the service provider, but the separated gray water is returned to your grease trap. This is a preferred method. But not all providers offer it as it requires specialized vehicles.
● Dry Pump. your service provider removes the entire contents of the trap, hauling away the FOG with the gray water, leaving your trap dry until it starts to fill again (a dry tank can emit strong odors until water is again introduced)
Remember that it is YOU who are responsible for the waste pumped from your grease trap, even after it is hauled away. If that waste is being illegally dumped in a river or other unauthorized location, you can be heavily fined. It’s very important that you partner with someone you can trust to do the job properly and in full compliance with all pertinent laws such as Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services. Records are required to be kept and available for official inspections.
The grease trap company said I am responsible for the material from cradle-to-grave. What does that mean?
You are responsible for the proper disposal of the waste you generate at your facility. Ask the transporter in advance where your waste will be sent and the receiving facility’s telephone number. Contact the receiving facility to confirm that it is authorized to receive your waste. After shipment, contact the receiving facility listed on the returned copy of the manifest to verify its authorization and receipt of the waste. You also have the option of choosing a receiving facility for your wastes. Check with transporters in your area, and choose one registered to use the receiving facility of your choice.
What are the fines if the trap overflows?
Grease trap overflows are costly to clean up and may expose restaurant customers, employees, food service workers, and others to health risks. Overflows may also threaten surface water quality by draining into our waterways. Food establishment operators will save money by avoiding backups inside their property.
Proper maintenance will prevent damage to the grease trap and will likely avoid fines from government agencies. Lack of maintenance on grease traps will produce odors within the property and lead to backups in sewer lines on streets as well as potential fines for causing damage to sewer lines.
Sewer overflows can cause property damage and legal issues. Finally, customers/patrons may not return to the establishment if there are overflows or odors.
My grease trap overflowed. Can you help?
Yes, we are experts in the field of grease trap cleaning services and are available 24/7. Call us if you experience any such emergency. We’ll come out immediately to clean and service the grease trap. If it was a clog that caused the overflow, you will need to have a plumber come out and fix it. Remember, a grease trap which is regularly serviced and maintained does not overflow.
Why does my restaurant smell just after I had my trap cleaned?
The most common causes of smell right after you had your trap cleaned are:
● The manhole cover gasket is probably worn out or corroded. This allows odors and gasses to be released from your grease trap and enter the restaurant. If that’s the case, the gasket must be replaced immediately.
● There could be a clog in the grease trap line. Food and grease clogs that occur must be addressed by a qualified plumber.
● The dry pumping method was used by your service provider to clean your grease trap. This is normal and will dissipate in a very short time. If this temporary odor is unacceptable to you, be sure to call Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services and ask us to perform the pump and return method.
Do you repair grease traps?
We do not repair grease traps, but we do take steps to minimize the chances of any necessary repairs:
● During service visits, we monitor your grease trap operation.
● We inspect your grease trap to make sure it’s in good condition and recommend any needed action or maintenance to remedy any problems we find.
● We regularly check your grease trap lines and will alert you if a plumber needs to be involved.
What is a Grease Interceptor?
Grease interceptors prevent FOGs from entering and clogging sewer lines by separating the FOGs from the normal wastewater stream. Grease interceptors should have all grease removed as frequently as necessary to avoid exceeding the interceptor’s rated capacity.
What is an HGI?
Hydromechanical Grease Interceptor (HGI) (also referred to as a grease trap) may contain weirs, diffusers, or moving mechanical components and is required to have a flow restrictor. Flow restrictors slow the flow of water entering the interceptor. The system allows the oil to be collected and removed on a regular basis as to prevent it from being discharged into the wastewater collection system
What is a GGI?
GGI is another term for gravity grease interceptor. A GGI is characterized by volume, minimum 30-minute retention time, baffle(s), not less than two compartments, a total volume of not less than 300 gallons, and gravity separation. GGI’s are generally installed outside the building they serve and buried below grade.
What kind of maintenance does my grease interceptor require?
The grease interceptor must be cleaned or pumped to completely remove the contents at a minimum of every 90 days. Some facilities may need to clean monthly or every two months to prevent exceeding the 25% limit of capacity of the interceptor with grease and food solids. Check with Everett Grease Trap & Interceptor Services to determine if your interceptor pump frequency needs to be 30, 60, or 90 days. The complete contents of the interceptor must be pumped. No partial pumping (grease layer only) is allowed. Contact us to perform the service to make sure complete contents are pumped.
A hefty fine may be imposed for any blockage or overflow and you may be found liable for any resulting property damages.
How often should I schedule cleaning my grease interceptor?
Instead of waiting until your employees discover a clog, it’s better to schedule a cleaning, to start with, every three months. In most restaurants, buildup in the grease trap after a few months should be just starting to collect. If your kitchen is particularly or you have a steady increase in business, you probably should schedule cleanings more frequently. Some kitchens may require one every month to prevent clogs simply because of the volume of greasy waste water generated.
Furthermore, emergency plumbing services themselves can be costly, eating into your revenue and your repair budget. Factoring a cleaning appointment into your routine maintenance every few months will save you money and time in the long run.
Can I use my own employees to clean my grease interceptor?
While there are a lot of things that you can easily do yourself to save money, there are some tasks that should be left to the professionals. When you own a commercial kitchen, you can expect your staff to do the basics: wipe down countertops, sweep, mop, turn off and wipe down equipment, label and put away food in correct locations, etc.
All of these tasks are great ways to keep your kitchen clean, maintained, and up to health code standards. With the importance of having a clean kitchen that operates well, it is crucial to know which tasks to hire an extra hand for, like your exhaust system, hoods, and grease traps. Leaving your grease interceptor cleaning to the experts will give you peace of mind, and potentially save you from the disaster of an overflow or clog. Hiring a professional cleaning service will keep your restaurant and employees protected.
How much can I expect to pay to hire a Preferred Pumper?
The price of a PPP member grease trap really depends on a few variables – the size, location and easy access are major factors. Of course, it’s more expensive to have grease trap pumping or cleaning after hours. PPPs are required to charge a flat rate for all HGI pumping. It’s best for us to set up an on-site consultation with you so we can arrange a regular cleaning schedule to prevent any future problems which can be quite costly in an emergency.
FSEs assistance is offered by city officials to help you save service costs by practicing the Best Management Practices, as well as exercising waste grease reduction techniques.
Please call us for a free on-site consultation and free estimate at 425-654-1762.
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