How Does a Grease Trap Work? An Essential Guide for Commercial Kitchens

Running a commercial kitchen can be a fast-paced, high-pressure environment at the best of times. The last thing you’d ever want to worry about is your kitchen having to close down mid-service because of a blockage on your wastewater line or, worse, a significant fine and even legal action for not properly capturing and disposing of your fats, oils and grease (FOG) in line with both local and national legislation. 

That's where the grease trap comes into play. These clever units are specially designed to catch and contain FOG before they escape into the municipal sewer system, where they can restrict and eventually block entire sewer lines. Knowing how a grease trap works is a key part of running a clean, efficient and legally compliant kitchen. In this blog, we’ll break down the workings of grease traps and their indispensable role in effective kitchen waste management. 


The Engineering Inside a Grease Trap 


A grease trap may look like a simple tank on the outside, but inside it’s a clever piece of engineering that takes advantage of the inherent physical properties of fats, oils and grease (FOG). Here’s what happens during each stage of a grease trap's operation: 

  1. Inflow: Wastewater, including the mixed-in FOG from cooking, cleaning and dishwashing activities, enters the grease trap. This initial mixture is typically warm, and the FOG particles are dispersed throughout the water. 

  1. Cooling Down: As the warm mixture enters the grease trap, the temperature begins to drop which changes the state of the FOG. Cooler temperatures cause the FOGs, which were previously in a semi-liquid state, to start solidifying. This is vital for the separation process. 

  1. Separation: Inside the grease trap, a series of baffles (walls) slow the flow of wastewater and create a ‘calm’ zone. This gives the now semi-solid FOG time to rise, forming a floating layer at the top of the trap, while the heavier food particles and solids descend to form a sludge layer at the bottom. 

  1. Clear Water Exit: The layering effect means the water in the middle, now largely cleared of FOG and solids, can move to the sewer. This ‘clear zone’ of water exits through an outlet valve positioned between the top layer of FOG and the bottom layer of sludge. It is this process that ensures the effluent leaving the trap is compliant with wastewater regulations. 

  1. Collection: Over time, the layer of FOG thickens, reducing the trap's efficiency and capacity. To maintain functionality, this accumulated FOG must be manually removed at regular intervals. The frequency of this maintenance task is dependent on the volume of FOG processed by the kitchen and the capacity of the grease trap.  

  1. Disposal: Proper disposal of FOG is also a critical step, often requiring specialised services to ensure environmental regulations are met. 

The effectiveness of a grease trap is a direct result of its design and the precision with which each of these stages is managed. By exploiting the simplicity of natural separation based on density differences, engineers have created a system that is not only effective but also integral to the modern commercial kitchen. 


Choosing and Maintaining Your Grease Trap with Goodflo 


In the bustling environment of a commercial kitchen, the right grease trap is not just an accessory but a necessity. Goodflo understands this and we offer a variety of grease trap solutions tailored to different kitchen sizes and needs. From compact under-sink models, perfect for smaller spaces, to advanced automatic grease removal units for larger operations, our selection ensures that your kitchen remains efficient, compliant and environmentally conscious. 

Proper installation and maintenance are key to the performance of your grease trap. At Goodflo, we provide expert installation services to ensure your grease trap is perfectly positioned and sized for your kitchen's specific demands. But our commitment to your kitchen's efficiency doesn't end there. Our comprehensive maintenance programs are designed to keep your system running smoothly, preventing common problems such as unpleasant odours and disruptive blockages. 

Partnering with Goodflo means investing in a solution that upholds these standards, ensuring your operations support sustainability goals and meet wastewater regulations. 


Grease Traps in the Spotlight 


The significance of a well-chosen, expertly installed and meticulously maintained grease trap cannot be overstated. It is the unseen hero of kitchen waste management, a role that Goodflo is proud to support. By collaborating with us, you invest in more than just a product – you engage in a partnership that guarantees a greener, more efficient and regulation-compliant kitchen operation. 

For a comprehensive grease management solution that aligns with your kitchen’s performance and compliance needs, turn to Goodflo. Get in touch with us today on 01926 334466, email, or use our easy online form and we’ll quickly get back to you. 

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