The Legal Requirements for Owning a Grease Trap
Legal requirements can be difficult to wrap your head around at times and some seem as if they’re directly working against you. Nonetheless, they must be adhered to otherwise you will face a storm of legal action and could face fines and even prosecution. When running a restaurant or a business that serves hot food, it is a legal requirement to own a grease trap. Not only do these effectively help to manage waste but are required to adhere to numerous laws. Some of these laws and regulations have been in place for more than 20 years and were created to protect staff, customers and the environment.
Grease trap laws in the UK are nothing new, but what do these laws mean for food service businesses and how can they adhere to them? Here at Goodflo, we know a thing or two about grease traps and why grease traps are required by law. Understanding the laws is important if you are running a business where grease is a product of the job, additionally, you could install a grease trap in your home if you wanted. In this blog, we will outline the various grease trap UK laws and regulations that mandate why and where a grease trap is needed.
What is a grease trap?
Before we look at the UK laws, let’s first define what a grease trap is. A grease trap, also known as a grease interceptor, is a solution to prevent blockages and clogs in sewage and water systems caused by FOGs (Fats, Oils, and Grease). Grease traps will efficiently collect the FOGs before they enter a sewage system and store them in a separate container which can then be discarded properly and legally.
Are there different types of grease traps?
There is a wide selection of grease traps available in the UK that will suit different businesses for different reasons. Grease management for commercial kitchens can be solved by different types of grease traps including:
- Above-ground grease traps
- Underground grease traps
- Grease dosing systems
- Grease removal units
Within each of these types of grease traps, there are different models to choose from and it is important to conduct research and seek advice on which grease trap will work best for you. For more information, you can read our blog on the many benefits and types of grease traps available in the UK.
Why are grease traps required by law?
The grease trap laws in the UK help protect the environment and public safety if FOGs that are produced in businesses, such as commercial kitchens, are not managed effectively, they will cause drastic issues and problems within the UK sewage and water systems.
Here are the legislations and laws businesses must follow relating to the management and disposal of FOGs:
Building Act 1984
Established in 1984, section 59 of this law states that local authority requires satisfactory provision for drainage of an existing building by an owner and failure to do so will mean the service of a notice on the owner – one of these provisions can include the installation of a grease trap.
Food Safety Act 1990
If you are found to have problems arising from the effect of FOGs on drains, local authorities have the power to inspect premises under the Food Safety Act 1990. If your business is failing to comply with the Food Hygiene Regulations, you could face prosecution or an emergency prohibition order which prevents any trade from taking place on the property – in other words, they will shut your business down.
Environmental Protection Act 1990/Environmental Protection Act (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991
Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Protection Act (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 as amended, states that every commercial premise arranging collection and disposal of waste – which includes FOGs – must ensure that the waste is managed correctly from where it is produced to where it is disposed of by a registered waste courier. Additionally, a record must be kept of all collections and the producer of the waste must be satisfied that the waste has been taken to a licensed disposal site. Any environmental inspection agent or local authority can request documentation relating to the registration of waste couriers. If the waste producer can not produce these documents, then they could face a fixed penalty of £300, or face prosecution.
Water Industry Act 1991
Under section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991, it is a criminal offence to discharge any matter into the public sewage system, which could interfere with the free flow of wastewater. Prosecution, imprisonment and substantial fines can result from causing blockages, pollution and flooding with costs incurred to fix the damages.
There are several other UK grease trap laws and regulations that businesses need to follow, where you can find all the information here, on our legal compliance page.
Grease management solutions with Goodflo
It is vital that if your business is producing grease and other FOGs you have a grease trap installed. Fortunately, Goodflo is here to help! We are expert, professional and licensed suppliers and installers of grease traps and other grease management solutions, in addition to providing servicing and maintenance plans to keep your grease traps running for years to come. We are also fully licensed to remove waste that is produced.