If you’ve recently bought into a retail business that’s related to food preparation, you’ll need to be sure your business has a properly functioning grease trap on the premises.
That’s because, as a business owner in the food preparation industry, you now have certain responsibilities regarding waste disposal on your premises. All waste is governed by strict regulations. This is particularly true in the case of greasy waste water from food preparation.
We spoke with Steve Neale of Superior Plumbing Drainage & Gas, a Perth plumbing company with more than a decade of professional plumbing experience. We asked Steve to tell us everything there is to know about grease traps.
First, a New Acronym for Your Vocabulary
FOG is the acronym for fat, oil and grease. Your business must keep FOG out of the general sewerage drainage systems.
That’s because of two major reasons. First, FOG can cause blockages in pipes and drains. Second, it can also cause serious damage to local pumping stations.
If left untreated or not removed from the system, it can even make its way onto beaches and into rivers. There, it creates a serious pollution and health hazard. Restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, function centers, food courts, and other businesses that prepare and serve food produce an extraordinary amount of FOG. In addition, their waste water contains a large amount of other organic food debris as well.
However, a properly maintained and functioning grease trap will prevent FOG and other debris from escaping into the broader sewerage system.
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Here’s How a Grease Trap Works
Grease traps work by taking advantage of gravity and the fact that FOG generally will float to the surface of water. The trap itself is usually made out of strong plastic. Further, grease traps are designed with baffles to trap the FOG on the surface of a well of water.
The inlet to the grease trap is normally close to the source of any FOG. Other food debris that is heavier than the FOG will settle to the bottom of the well. However, special water flow controls inside the grease trap prevent that debris from getting into the broader sewage system.
Know the Regulations and Your Obligations
You have several regulatory obligations as the owner of the business.
There are stiff penalties for business owners who do not follow regulatory guidelines. That’s because when FOG compromises the general sewerage systems the costs to governmental agencies and the public are considerable.
Therefore, if you have recently purchased a property or are conducting due diligence on its systems, ensure that a grease trap has been properly installed. Furthermore, check to see that it is fully functioning and has the appropriate permits. If there is no grease trap or you wish to have an old one replaced, you may need to apply to the local regulatory agency for approval. Check with them also about the size and location of the trap.
Keep up with Grease Trap Maintenance
The permit will set out the frequency with which you will need to have the grease trap pumped out.
In most cases, that frequency will depend on various factors. For instance, the size of the trap and the average daily amount of FOG you produce will be major considerations.
Monitor Your Grease Trap Regularly
You will also need to call in a qualified grease trap cleaner regularly to monitor and clean the trap. They will ensure it is not full, as well as check for defects or damage.
In most cases, a qualified plumber will be able to repair general wear and tear on grease traps. However, if your grease trap is an older model you might need to replace it. This is especially true if your older model grease trap has been in continuous use. It might simply no longer be able to handle the quantity of FOG that is running through it.
To learn more, contact Steve at Superior Plumbing Drainage & Gas.