If you are wondering if grease is a problem, in the sewage collection and treatment business, the answer is an emphatic yes. Grease is singled out for special attention because it collects in sewer lines and can completely plug a pipe.
Grease in warm water or liquid may not appear harmful. But as the liquid cools, the Grease hardens and collects on sewer mains and pumps. This may cause sewer backup problems at the city's lift stations or waste water treatment plant.
To help eliminate this problem, all grease or oils from cooking or automotive repairs should be put into containers for proper disposal.
It makes no sense to spend precious dollars collected from rates to clean Grease out of sewer pipes. These expenses can be avoided simply by each one of us properly disposing of Grease rather than washing it down the drain.
Commercial Grease Issues
Large amounts of oil and grease in the waste water cause trouble in the collection system pipes and the waste water treatment plant. It decreases pipe capacity and, therefore requires that piping systems be cleaned more often and/ or some piping to be replaced sooner than otherwise expected.
Problems caused by wastes from restaurants, food processing facilities, and other grease producing establishments have served as the basis for ordinance and regulations governing the discharge of grease materials to the sanitary sewer system. This type of waste has forced the requirement of the installation of preliminary treatment facilities, commonly known as grease traps or interceptors.
Need for Grease Traps
If you use oil or grease in your establishment and they are washed into the sanitary sewer system, then you should have a grease trap or interceptor.
The size is largely determined by your maintenance schedule. If you have to clean it more often than you think you should, chances are the size needs to be increased. Typically, a drive-in restaurant will require between a 70 pound to a 100 pound interceptor depending on the food being prepared.
Not Installing Grease Traps
If you are a restaurant owner and use oil or grease in you food preparation, you will eventually have a maintenance problem with a plugged building sewer line. This blockage can create a sewer back-up situation and ultimately a health problem in your restaurant. Someone will have to pay to remove the blockage.
If the problem is in your building sewer line, then you will have direct responsibility for paying for the maintenance. If the blockage or restriction is in the public sewer main and it can be proven that you are the cause of the blockage, then you may also have to pay for the public sewer to be maintained.
How It Works
When maintained properly, grease traps prevent your kitchen grease and food waste materials from entering the city sewer system. Grease is a leading cause of sanitary sewer overflows, since it clogs sanitary sewer lines and ultimately causes line blockages.
The result is all too frequent discharges of untreated waste water into streets, homes and commercial enterprises.
Ultimately these problematic waste streams enter our local waterways, where they cause further cleanup costs and restrict recreation, tourism, and commerce. Your traps must be regularly emptied and periodically cleaned to prevent costly and dirty back-ups or over-flows.
Some other things to know include:
- Your kitchen's complete plumbing system, including sinks, dishwashers, floor-drains mop-sinks, drains into the grease trap or grease interceptor system.
- Waste water flows into either an interior or exterior (usually in-ground) grease trap system. A baffle separates the inlet and outlet of the trap, keeping grease in.
- Grease floats to the top of the grease trap, while solids settle on the bottom. The trap or interceptor must be vacuum pumped regularly by a skilled service provider to remove the entire contents of the trap.
- Clean water then continues to flow into your sewer or septic system.