Emptying a Grease Trap Yourself: Good or Bad Idea?

The Environmental Code and the departmental sanitation regulations require food industry professionals (restaurant owners, producers, caterers, etc.) to install a grease trap in their sewer system. This is a tank installed before the sewage system that allows grease to be separated from wastewater. Is it advisable to empty the grease trap yourself, or should you ask a professional to do it? The answer is in the article!

What is a Grease Trap?

The grease trap or grease trap is sanitation equipment that retains grease from domestic water (kitchen water, washing machine water). Manufacturers offer two types of grease traps:

– The inert grease trap: the equipment is installed just before the sewerage system. It comprises two elements: the grease trap and the sludge trap. This type of tank must be emptied regularly (every month). The inert grease trap gives way more and more to the self-cleaning model of old conception.

– The self-cleaning grease trap: compared to the inert grease trap, this equipment has a reduced size. Easy to maintain, it requires less cleaning. Moreover, its self-cleaning capacity prevents it from emitting unpleasant odors. However, its price is relatively high.

How Does a Grease Trap Work?

First, the wastewater collected in the grease trap will be filtered to recover the solid waste (peelings, food residues…). These will accumulate at the bottom of the tank. In a second step, the water passes through the lamellar, ensuring the grease separation from the water. Being light, these greasy matters will go up to the tank’s surface while the pre-treated water will be directly sent to all water pits.

Why Do I Need To Maintain the Grease Trap?

The emptying and cleaning of the grease trap must be done several times a year depending on the type of trap, installation capacity, use, and the manufacturer’s recommendations. On average, the operation must be repeated 2 to 5 times a year. This is because animal, vegetable, and chemical fats, oils, and solid wastes in the wastewater contribute to the clogging of the sewage system. When these materials thicken and ferment, they produce offensive odors that can disturb customers. Excessive layers of residue also interfere with the operation of the grease trap.

By law, wastewater containing grease cannot be discharged directly into the public sewer system to avoid damage to the pipes. It must also not be released into the environment.

Is It Necessary To Hire a Professional?

It is possible to do the maintenance of your grease trap yourself. However, it should be noted that the operation requires know-how and the mastery of specific techniques. In addition, emptying and cleaning involve using various equipment designed for this purpose. Thus, calling upon a company specialized in sanitation work is strongly recommended.

The maintenance of a grease trap is a rigorous, complex, and exhausting job. Indeed, if the residues have accumulated for a long time, the emptying is difficult and time-consuming. The specialist will quickly find the appropriate solutions if there is a problem. At the end of the intervention, he will take care of transporting the collected waste to the recycling companies. The company can carry out the work with the necessary equipment while respecting the related standards. Fats and oils, for example, can be transformed into oxidants.

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