The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Grease Management in 2020

Grease trap maintenance isn’t the most exciting of topics but it could become your biggest headache if you don’t prepare. Local authorities spend millions each year clearing blockages replacing pipes and cleaning overflows. Restauranters and chefs often overlook the importance of regulatory cleaning a grease trap, but it is an essential element of protecting your business and the wider community.  

Your local regulator will track grease output throughout the year, so you need to have a plan for managing your grease. 

In this article, we will take you through the importance of cleaning your grease trap regularly, what will happen if you don’t and how you can easily simplify your grease trap maintenance.  

Grease in Restaurants

Every time you cook, some amount of grease is leftover. If there is any food prep, cooking, or cleaning carried out in the kitchen, you will produce high quantities of FOG. 

You will find FOG in various food types: 

  • Dairy products 
  • Meat fats
  • Cooking oil
  • Lard
  • Cooking oil
  • Butter/margarine
  • Baking products
  • Sauces
  • Salad dressing 
  • Coffee beans

 There are two types of grease.

Yellow grease, which results from deep frying and brown grease, which contains fats, oils, and greases that float or settle in solids.   

Brown grease is more challenging to collect and will vary depending on the restaurant. Still, both pose severe consequences for the environment if you don’t dispose of them properly. 

The level of grease your restaurant produces will depend on your size and the types of food you provide. 

The Negative Impacts of Grease

When the grease reaches the drain, it cools and begins to stick to the sides of the pipes and drains. Over time the grease will clog the pipes causing blockages known as fatbergs. These blockages can cause sewage to flood your premises along with the surrounding streets and storm drains. 

These blockages and overflows are expensive to fix, and if you are the cause, you could have the bear the cost of the cleanup. Not to mention fines and the possibility of being shut down. 

Restaurant Grease Traps   

As I said above, the consequences of grease reaching your pipes can be devastating. That’s why a functioning grease control device is one of your most essential tools. 

Grease traps use a series of baffles to collect the grease and prevent it from flowing from one end of the system to the other. The grease will accumulate at the top of the trap above the water, allowing you to clean it out. 

Grease Trap Cleaning 

You must get your grease trap cleaned regularly. How often you clean your grease trap will depend on its size and the amount of grease you produce in your kitchen. To check how much FOG you create, check the trap once or twice a week for a month and see how quickly the grease builds up. 

Most local authorities recommended that you get your grease trap cleaned at least four times per year. In some cases, grease traps need to be cleaned every month. The grease hardens when it cools, and without regular cleaning becomes far more difficult to remove – increasing the amount of time needed and the price.

It’s important to note that your grease trap ability to separate grease diminishes as the trap fills with FOG. When it is full, it will no longer separate any of the greases, sending it straight to the sewer. Regular cleaning will ensure this doesn’t happen and will also significantly reduce bad odors. 

Most restaurants hire professional grease pumpers to clean and maintain their grease trap. These companies use specialized trucks that allow them to pump out your grease and haul it to a verified processor. 

Restaurant FOG Inspections 

All food establishments receive regular inspections for local authorities. Your inspector is there to make sure you are managing your grease effectively.

Your inspector will be assessing your grease compliance in relation to the local state ordinance. The inspector will likely take photos to highlight instances of compliance/non-compliance.

  • That you are maintaining your grease removal equipment and that records of this maintenance are being kept on site. This should include your weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance, removal of waste oil, and any desludging operations carried out.
  • That you have stored the collected FOG in a secure area, isolated from any storm drains and you have disposed of waste oil or food waste using a permitted and licensed waste removal contractor.
  • That you are using a sink connected to the grease trapping equipment when cleaning exhaust filters.
  • That you are employing the best practices in FOG management and that all new staff is trained appropriately in these practices. It’s essential that you continually check your operations to ensure that best practices are being employed at all times.
  • That you have utilized appropriate signage to ensure that there is no contamination of food during prep, i.e., washing vegetables.
  • That all your grease traps have a sampling tap to sample trade effluent.
  • That the use of under sink food macerators/food grinders for processing and discharging waste food to the drainage system is not occurring.
  • That the use of microbial, enzymatic, biological, or chemical degreasers is not happening.
  • That you have paid all your annual license fees in full.

How SwiftQuote Helps

At SwiftQuote, we run an online marketplace that connects businesses like yours with local service providers. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible to find and compare trusted local professionals. 

Through the app, you can submit a job request, and local pros will bid on your service, providing a quote to complete your request. You can also search pros in your area and select based on reviews, price, and any other requirements. 

SwiftQuote also tracks your compliance services and ensures you never miss a deadline again.


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