Most of us are aware of the problems fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can cause when washed down into sinks or other drains. They can create significant clogging issues, causing sewer backups that are costly to repair and can create health concerns by attracting insects and vermin.
According to Citizen’s Energy Group, the utility group servicing to about 800,000 people and thousands of businesses in the Indianapolis area, one of the major causes of FOG related sewer issues in the Indianapolis area is poor grease trap maintenance. To prevent further damage, and increasing sewer costs, Citizen’s is cracking down on those restaurants with improper grease trap maintenance. They are inspecting restaurants to ensure grease trap compliance. If a restaurant is found not to be compliant, they can be shut down due to a violation of the health code until it is fixed.
Restaurants and other food preparation establishments must have grease traps installed in the waste line leading from plumbing fixtures to the sewer system - and those traps must be properly sized and maintained. While these sorts of regulations may seem like a hassle, they help protect your business and neighborhood from some very real and costly dangers.
In addition to checking your grease traps and drainage, having a service plan on paper can save you time and money. When a Citizen’s inspector comes to check on your grease trap compliance, you can quickly show them you are actively maintaining your system. By having an up-to-date service plan available, the inspector can easily review and determine any areas of improvement or let you know if certain aspects need extra attention.
When selecting a grease trap, you need to consider what is right for your business. For example, consider the amount of water and grease generated, potential freezing of outdoor systems, how the trap should be clean and how often grease must be removed, and whether the staff will clean the traps or if managers will hire professional service
The Marion County Health Department has developed a set of Best Management Practices for the operation and maintenance of grease traps and grease interceptors. These BMPs require:
- Monitoring outside grease traps regularly and cleaning them when FOG reaches 25% of the grease trap depth. Monitor inside grease traps monthly and clean them at least once every three months.
- Disposing of waste cooking oil (deep fryer oil) through an established recycling company and never down the drain.
- "Dry wiping" pots, pans, and dishware prior to dishwashing to minimize the discharge of FOG and solids.
- Disposing of food wastes by solid waste removal or composting rather than using garbage disposals.
- Verifying all grease interceptors cleaning and maintenance activities by a manager or supervisor to ensure that the device is operating properly.
- Keeping a log of maintenance activities to help demonstrate compliance with the use of best management practices.