What can I expect during grease trap/interceptor inspection?
All restaurants are on an annual inspection schedule. The grease trap/interceptor will be inspected using the following criteria:
• If the trap is in good condition, you will be advised to maintain hauling schedule and kitchen operations.
• If trap is in poor condition, a non-compliance order to have trap cleaned immediately will be issued, and a follow-up inspection will occur. At which time, the facility will have to provide a copy of the manifest (pump out) from the hauler.
o Proper maintenance of the grease trap is removing accumulated FOG and solids on a 25% capacity rule. After a trap has reached 25% capacity of both FOG and solids, FOG begins to pass through to the sewer system.
• FSEs must keep records of pump outs for inspections.
What if I don't install a grease trap/interceptor?
All FSE (food service establisments) are required to have an appropriately sized and maintained grease trap to protect the public sewer system. Fines may be imposed for non-compliance. Without a grease trap you may have encountered sewer backups or may be facing one soon. Current regulations state a facility causing a sanitary sewer overflow is in violation of the Clean Water Act and enforcement actions may have the facility pay for all costs involved.
How do I maintain grease traps?
Have grease trap pumped at least once every 90 days by a licensed waste hauler
Maintain a copy of the manifest provided by the waste hauler for each pump out
Do not use additives
Grease traps/interceptors must be maintained in effective operating condition to comply with the City
What is a grease trap/interceptor?
A grease trap/interceptor is a plumbing device that collects and prevents oils and grease from entering the sanitary sewer system. When kitchen wastewater flows through a grease interceptor, the grease and oils rise to the surface inside and are trapped using a system of baffles while allowing wastewater to flow out of the trap.
Why is it MY responsibility?
The environment affects all of us. Taking responsibility for your FOG management and preventing sewer overflows allows every person to live in a safer and healthier area. If a sewer backup occurs on your property, it is your responsibility to clean up. Repeated calls to clean out clocked sewers result in higher rates for all users.
What if my sewage backs up?
Sewage cleanup from a septic tank backup or clogged sewer line is a dirty job that requires a professional.
Cleanup specialists: Professionals will do the sewage cleanup work for you—pump out and wipe up the gunk, deodorize, and restore carpets and floors, if possible. Equipment they’ll use includes fans, air scrubbers, and dehumidifiers. Sewage cleanup and restoration will cost you between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on how big the space and how high the sewage. Make sure you check with your insurance agent to see what’s covered.
Septic specialists: If you have a backed-up septic tank, you’ll need a septic specialist, probably the same company that regularly empties your tank, or a plumber that provides emergency drain cleaning services. The cost to pump out a septic tank typically is $250. Tank repairs can range from $150 (replace a pipe) to $5,000 (replace your entire tank).
City sewer workers: If you’re tied into a city sewer system, call the sewage department to make sure your clog is not part of a citywide problem. If it is, the city will handle it.
Drain clearers: If there’s a problem on your own property between the city sewer and your home, like a clogged line, a plumber or drain-clearing specialist, like Roto-Rooter, will charge $150 to $300 to clear the line.
Negative effects of FOG?
Attracts insects and rodents
Property damage from sewage backups are not always covered by insurance
Sewage can overflow into streets, rivers, public water supply
Expensive and unpleasant clean-up
Higher operation and maintenance costs for Public Works department and City of Pearland residents
What about restaurants?
Restaurants typically generate more FOG than residents. However, they must comply with regulations that require grease trap and other methods of disposing grease. Look at Best Management Practices.
Who is responsible for the cleanup of an overflow?
If the blockage is in the service lateral (sewer line from your home to the street sewer line) the clean-up is your responsibility. If the blockage is in the sewer main the City is responsible.
Can I use hot water to loosen a clog?
When faced with a slow or blocked sink, don't run hot water, detergents or degreasers down the drain. This only moves FOG clog further downstream, affecting more of your neighbors. It also keeps your grease trap or interceptor from operating effectively. Regular maintenance or mechanical cleaning are the required Best Management Practices.
Will detergent wash grease down the drain?
Products such as detergents that claim to dissolve grease may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere. Additional grease pushed down the drain will only help to create a larger problem downstream.
Should I use my garbage disposal?
Home garbage disposals do not keep grease out of our sewer system. In fact, garbage disposals help contribute to the problem of blocked sanitary sewer pipes. Food particles stick to the grease that clings to pipe walls and speeds up the blockage of pipes. Garbage disposals use large amounts of water and electricity. Reduce or eliminate their usage to lower your utility bills.
How does FOG create a sewer blockage?
Fats, oils and grease in a warm liquid form may appear to be harmless since they flow easily down the drain. However, as the liquid cools, the FOG solidifies and separates from other liquids in the sewer pipes. The layer of FOG sticks to the sewer pipes and, over time, the flow of wastewater becomes restricted which can cause a backup or overflow.
What are Best Management Practices?
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practices that have been shown to reduce FOG related problems and costs. BMPs help your kitchen run more smoothly, avoid sewer backups, service interruptions, and penalties for improper handling and disposal. Train all employees to use BMPs!