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How Grease Traps Nullify the Occurrence of Costly Plumbing Emergencies

An average household does not need to use grease traps. This is because the wastewater that emanates from the household usually does not contain significantly high volumes of fats and oils. But, the regulatory authorities have realised that commercial kitchens and similar establishments have wastewater that contains significantly high amounts of these substances. This is why restaurants and other eateries throughout South Australia need to use grease traps. These devices prevent fats and oils present in the wastewater from entering the municipal waste system i.e. sewers.

What are Grease Traps?

Grease traps (or grease interceptors) are reservoirs that professional installers fit into the pipeline that comes from a sink or a drain. In many cases, the wastewater that flows into these sinks and drains will contain high amounts of grease and fat. The reservoir in the grease trap will typically feature baffles. These baffles serve the objective of storing the wastewater until the grease and fat content rises to the top of the reservoir. Thereafter, the workers in the commercial kitchen can scoop off the greasy material and dispose of it according to the local guidelines.

As mentioned earlier, commercial establishments such as hotels, restaurants, schools and hospitals use grease traps. Typically, these institutions will use one of the following varieties of grease traps:

  • Point of Use Grease Traps: These are relatively smaller sized grease traps. The installers usually connect these units to specific devices.
  • Single Line Grease Traps: These devices are much larger than the point of use varieties. Many of these units have a capacity of storing up to 500 gallons of waste. Commercial establishments will use these devices to handle the wastewater emanating from the entire kitchen.

How Does a Grease Trap Function?

When you install a grease trap, you’ll notice that the installers do not add it directly to the drain of the sink that the device is filtering. Instead, a flow control valve ensures that the wastewater does not reach the grease trap too quickly. This distance between the drains and the grease trap helps in reducing the temperature of the wastewater, as it flows towards the grease trap. Another thing worth noting is that the grease trap does not contain any actual screens for filtering the Fats, Oils and Greases (FOG) and other waste matter from the water.

As it flows towards the grease trap, the wastewater will start cooling. As a result, the FOG will begin floating and ascending to the top of the grease trap. Similarly, the food debris and other solid waste items will start sinking to the bottom of the grease trap. This is because these items will usually be heavier than the wastewater and FOG.

The flow control valve helps in keeping the unit functioning effectively during times of faster flow volumes. As such, it will prevent the water from washing the debris from the grease trap at these times. Thus, the grease trap effectively turns into a well that keeps the floating oils at the top of the water from escaping the device by making the water fill the well.

Typically, grease traps will feature walls that travel partially down the well on the input side. This is useful for facilitating the escape of water through the drain from under the well. The FOG will float at the top of the reservoir. Thus, it will not be able to escape into the drain by the wall. Similarly, the solid waste cannot escape via the drain on the other side of the wall because of its heavier weight. As such, it will continue to accumulate at the bottom of the grease trap.

How Do Grease Traps Prevent the Occurrence of Costly Plumbing Emergencies?

If commercial kitchens did not use grease traps, all the FOG would enter the municipal sewers via the drains. Over time, the temperature of the wastewater will reduce. As a result, the formation of FOG will create various issues in the sewage systems. For instance, the FOG will attach itself to the insides of the pipes.

With the passage of time, the inner sides of the pipes will become narrower and narrower. Eventually, they will clog and lead to backups. To remedy this, you might need to replace the pipes in your facility entirely. In addition, the authorities could well penalise you for failing to maintain your grease trap as well. If this were to happen, you could find your business remaining closed for a few days. After all, no customers would want to dine or purchase food from a place that features drains that backup. Similarly, the foul stench emanating from the backups will hardly provide the right ambience for your customers.

This is why owners need to clean their grease traps regularly. In many cases, grease trap owners can keep their grease traps functioning by cleaning it twice a year. Larger establishments though, might need to clean their grease traps more frequently. It is worth highlighting that commercial plumbing companies classify these devices as the first line of defence against sewer backups.

Signal Waste & Recycling – The Specialists in Dealing with Septic Tanks and Liquid Waste

To keep your grease trap functioning effectively, you’ll need to hire a professional grease trap cleaning company. Since 1989, people in Adelaide and the adjoining areas have trusted Signal Waste & Recycling with their grease trap and septic tank cleaning requirements. We offer superior levels of service at affordable rates. We cater to clients from the private, commercial, industrial, local, state and federal government sectors throughout the Adelaide metropolitan area. Take the hassle out of cleaning your grease traps. Call us at 08 8162 5544 for more details.