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11-Step Grease Trap Cleanout

11 Step Grease Trap Cleanout

The grease trap cleanout process can be messy, cumbersome, and a little gross. It involves opening the lid of a grease trap and seeing all the gunk flushed down a sink. 

But it’s one of those jobs that needs to be done. Failing to clean a grease trap can damage sewer pipes and the wider environment. 

Luckily, the grease trap cleanout process is relatively simple. 

Knowing how to clean out a grease trap is a skill anyone working in the food service industry should know. Kitchen staff who know how grease traps operate will be more aware of their grease waste management. 

What is a Grease Trap

A grease trap is a device that separates water from oil and other food items before they enter the sewage system. 

Many kitchens use grease traps to stop FOG (fat, oil, and grease) from damaging their internal and external plumbing systems.

They are essential because FOG clogs up most drains and pipes. 

It’s not just professional kitchens that have grease traps. Some households and apartment blocks have them installed.

How Do Grease Traps Work?

Grease traps are relatively simple devices. The basic principles, although their sizes vary, from small attachments on local businesses to large waste management centres, remain the same.

Quite simply, grease traps remove FOG and other food scraps from water. The water flows into the sewage system, and the rest stays in the trap.

Whatever’s left over builds up and needs to be cleaned. 

Why a Grease Trap Cleanout is Needed

A grease trap needs to be cleaned out for several reasons. 

  1. The buildup of FOG and other food items affects the drainage system. The more substances that new liquids entering the system have to go through, the slower the process. Over time, this itself can become blocked. 
  2. Old food decomposes. Old food waste left in a grease trap will continue to decompose. Worse, the moist environment will speed this process up. Rotting food can attract bugs and other insects and pose a potential health risk. 
  3. The grease trap can break. Failing to clean out a grease trap can cause a major clog, which can severely damage it and render it ineffective. 
  4. Spills and other leaks. An unclean grease trap can overflow and spill onto the surrounding environment, contaminating the ground around it and negatively impacting the environment. 
  5. Cleaning promotes a better understanding of how a grease trap works. By cleaning out a grease trap regularly, you will better understand how it works and why it is essential. This can promote better waste management systems and a greater awareness of the amount of waste produced. 
  6. Laws and regulations. Some countries require restaurants to regularly clean out their grease traps. Failure to do so can result in fines or closure. Urban Utilities is an excellent resource on these regulations and guides. Sydney Water, for example, requires retail food businesses to install a grease trap.

The numerous reasons why a grease trap needs to be cleaned out revolve around business best practices and general waste management guidelines. 

A restaurant, for example, should consider setting up a weekend cleaning schedule for its grease trap. Cleaning it at regular intervals will help it function better and promote better waste management practices.

You won’t forget to empty your bin, so remember to clean out your grease trap!

Cleanway has a blog on why Grease Pit Cleaning is Important. Check it out for more information!

11-Step Grease Trap Cleanout 

Grease trap cleaning is a relatively simple process. Follow these 11 easy steps to do it effectively. 

  1. Put on health and safety gear.
  2. Remove the grease trap cover.
  3. Take a look inside
  4. Measure the amount of FOG
  5. Remove any excess water
  6. Take apart the grease trap components
  7. Scoop out chunks of solidified FOG
  8. Scrap down any leftover FOG
  9. Clean everything with soap and water
  10. Put Everything Back Together
  11. Compile a Cleanout Report

Following these steps correctly will help you properly clean out a grease trap and audit the amount of waste produced.

1. Put on Health and Safety Gear.

This step is essential when working with any waste. Human skin should not come into contact with any of the waste.

2. Remove the cover

Removing the lid allows you to access the space where the fats, grease, and oils solidify.

3. Take a Look Inside

At this stage, you should examine the contents of the grease trap container. It should be full of all the waste that needs to be removed and the other components that help it function, like the grease arrestor.

4. Measure the Amount of FOG

Measuring how much FOG has been trapped has many benefits, like seeing how much waste is being created. It is also mandatory for some commercial businesses.

5. Remove any Excess Water

Some water might still be mixed in with the other solids. It should be pumped out before the other materials are removed. However, it should not be flushed into a sewer system as it has not been properly filtered.

6. Take Apart The Grease Trap Components.

This will include the grease interceptor, the grease arrestor, PVC pipes, and other lightweight devices supplied with your device.

7. Scoop Out Chunks of Solidified FOG

Yes, the easiest method is to scoop out as many of the chunks as possible. The combination of various fats and food scraps will create blockages if not entirely removed.

8. Scrap Down Any Leftover FOG

Once the big pieces have been removed, take a small scraper and carefully scour the grease trap, as well as the other removed components, like the grease arrestor. Really scour each piece for any leftovers.

9. Clean Everything With Soap and Water

Wash down all the components with soap and water.

10. Put Everything Back Together

With the trap now cleaned out, place all components back together. Ensure the grease arrestor is attached correctly and that excess soap and water do not drain into the sewer system.

11. Compile a Cleanout Report.

Take note of the amount of FOG that was removed from the system.

Knowing how to clean out a grease trap can save a business time and money. It can also provide workers with new skills.

Additionally, knowing the range of commercial waste your business building produces can help you become a better owner and manager.

This 11-step process is easy to follow and is applicable in any location.

That said, local waste management companies and plumbers can help. If you need help with grease trap cleaning, contact them.