Grease Traps – Their Rise in Popularity
What Is a Grease Trap?
A grease trap is a device that captures fats, oils and grease (FOG) from wastewater before it enters the sewer system. They are commonly used in commercial kitchens and food service establishments to prevent FOG from causing blockages and backups or other plumbing issues. Grease trap cleaning works by using gravity to separate FOG from wastewater. The wastewater enters the grease trap, slowing down and allowing FOG to float to the top of the trap. The FOG is then trapped while the wastewater continues to flow out of the trap and into the sewer system. Some kitchen grease traps are manual systems and require regular cleaning, whereas automatic grease traps need less maintenance and biological traps use enzymes to break the FOG down safely and without the use of chemicals. Regardless of which type of grease trap cleaner you install, they will filter out the FOG and other waste items, to keep the plumbing equipment clear and prevent damaging materials from entering the wastewater systems causing damage and health hazards.
This blog will examine what grease traps are, and why they’ve become so popular for commercial and food service kitchens.
When Was the Grease Trap Invented?
You may be surprised to know that there has been evidence found of grease trap installations as far back as the Greek and Roman civilisations. However, the first modern grease traps - that we know today - harken back to the late 19th century when the first patent was issued to Nathaniel Whiting, in 1884, in the USA.
Since this patent was granted, the number of grease traps being installed has grown massively - as the recognition of the damage that can be caused by FOG build-up in the sewer systems has been better understood.
In the UK, laws were created around the treatment of wastewater as a clearer understanding emerged of the damage to the environment, as well as the threat to health, that is created by untreated water and the related blockages. The Water Industry Act of 1991 and the Environmental Protection Regulations of 2003 established legislation surrounding the installation of grease trap cleaning and the responsibilities of food service owners.
Why Are Grease Traps Necessary?
If a cleaning grease trap is not installed where wastewater exits a kitchen or commercial food service outlet, then the FOG enters the wastewater system where it can solidify and lead to blockages or reduced flow in pipes, pumps and other equipment. These blockages can cause costly and time-consuming repairs, as well as health and environmental hazards. They can contaminate waterways, harm aquatic life and cause unpleasant odours. Kitchen grease traps separate the damaging FOG from the water and reduce the need for costly repairs as well as protecting the environment.
What Are The Problems of Not Having a Grease Trap Cleaning System?
There are a variety of problems that not having a grease trap cleaning system installed will lead to:
- Clogs and backups – which result in unpleasant smells, slow draining water and in severe cases, wastewater overflows.
- Plumbing system damage – building up FOG can cause damage to plumbing systems in terms of corrosion, leaks and burst pipes.
- Health hazards – overflowing wastewater creates unsanitary conditions which can lead to the spread of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
- Environmental damage – wastewater that contains FOG can harm the environment by polluting waterways, contaminating soil and harming aquatic life.
- Fines and legal action – businesses failing to comply with the legislation to install grease trap cleaning systems find themselves facing legal action, fines and damage to their reputation.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Kitchen Grease Trap Installed?
The other side of the coin is the many benefits of having a cleaning grease trap system installed:
- Preventing plumbing system damage – preventing FOGs from entering the plumbing systems prevents the damage that they can cause and the cost of repairing them as well.
- Improving sanitation - there are no nasty smells or wastewater backups and there will be a vastly reduced risk of hazards to health.
- Improved efficiency – without any blockages or backups the plumbing systems will work more quickly and efficiently.
- Saving money – reducing the risks of damage to plumbing systems, minimising the need for maintenance and cleaning as well as removing the potential for lawsuits and fines will all save money long term.
- Legal compliance – fitting a kitchen grease trap ensures you’re complying with the legal requirements for treating your FOG waste and prevents fines and legal action.
Kitchen Grease Traps – the Rise in Popularity
Grease trap cleaning has gained in popularity due to increasing awareness of the negative effects of FOG on the environment and plumbing systems. The implementation of legal requirements for food service establishments to manage their FOG also has led to more grease traps being purchased and installed. The benefits of grease traps, beyond their mere compliance, have also begun to be recognised by food service owners in terms of reduced bad smells, more efficient plumbing systems and lower plumbing repair bills. Automatic grease traps are extremely popular as they can remove FOG even more efficiently than traditional grease traps, reducing further the amount of FOG that enters the sewer systems. Automatic grease traps also require much less maintenance than traditional traps which need manual cleaning regularly, and as they are also often more compact than traditional grease traps, they are the perfect solution for businesses with limited space.
Goodflo understands the legal requirements of installing grease trap cleaning systems for your food service outlet and our team of experienced engineers is happy to help you find and install the ideal grease trap system for your kitchen and business. With vast experience in the industry and a team of highly-qualified experts, we are confident that we can support your grease trap installation from start to finish.