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Preparing for a Grease Trap Inspection

What is a Grease Trap Inspection?

Grease traps are plumbing devices for intercepting oil, grease and fat (FOGs) before they reach a wastewater system. Grease interceptors differ from grease traps in that traps have a smaller capacity, reside near the source of grease and can be cleaned and maintained by restaurant employees with no special pumps or tools. Interceptors are high-volume, underground units accessible through manhole covers and must be cleaned by licensed grease haulers who use specialized equipment. Municipalities mandate grease trap inspections for restaurants to be licensed to serve food to the public. Failing a grease trap inspection can damage a restaurant’s reputation.

What do Grease Trap Inspectors Inspect?

  • capacity. Proper capacity is critical-not too big, not too small. Retention capacity of 2 lbs of grease for each gallon per minute of water flow is common. High volume kitchens with lots of fryers may require additional capacity.
  • flow-control valves. Metal fittings are required to control the flow of water into the trap.
  • air intake for the flow-control valve. Properly vented to allow air to mix to maintain adequate pressure.
  • trap should not have any cracks including the baffles.
  • watertight. Underground interceptors must be watertight with a secure tight lid.
  • garbage disposal. Garbage disposals should never empty into the grease trap
  • repurposed. Check trap has not been altered to serve other functions eg. septic.
  • cleaning. Traps should be cleaned when 25% of the volume is grease and 75% water.
  • records review. Review records of cleaning and inspection.

What does a Grease Trap Cleaner Check?

Your grease trap cleaning company should check the following to insure you are prepared for your city’s grease trap inspection:

  • Inspect cover, gaskets, bolts, rods, baffles and baskets.
  • Inspect for rust and weak points
  • Check flow rate of the trap.
  • Recommend frequency of cleaning traps
  • Check volume of grease and water in trap (max 25% grease).
  • Inspect condition of strainers and screens
  • Compile a complete condition report
  • Review your cleaning records and inspections.
  • They should advise you on best practices.

Municipal Grease Trap Regulations

The grease trap regulations for the city of Newton, MA provide a good example of the regulations a municipality will institute to manage FOGs and wastewater safely. No one wants to deal with a fatberg.

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