Grease Trap 101

The collection and processing of grease trap waste (aka brown grease or gray water) has historically been provided by septic companies. A properly maintained and serviced grease trap will typically be comprised of 94% water; 3% grease and 3% solids. The contents of grease trap waste presently have no significant value. Brown grease derived from grease trap waste is specifically prohibited from inclusion as an animal feed ingredient due to the consistent presence of pesticides, toxins or other chemical compounds.

Grease trap waste is generally processed by industrial or municipal waste water treatment facilities. Due to the costly nature of treating grease trap waste, an increasing number of facilities are refusing to process grease trap waste. If they do continue to receive grease trap waste, the tipping fee is generally substantially higher (sometimes 300%) than other types of waste.

The detection of certain toxins, chemical compounds or emulsifying agents is often cause for surcharges or increased tipping fees, beyond those already charged for grease trap waste.

Most common alternatives to waste water treatment facilities are land application and dewatering systems.

Land application of grease trap waste is not permitted in some areas. Additionally, it is not ideal during rainy seasons due to the reduced absorption rate of the land on which the waste is applied. Dewatering systems are generally not practical at any substantial volume and are difficult to calibrate to be effective with the varied qualities of grease trap waste. They do, however, work well with established and frequently serviced grease traps.

Proper Grease Trap Management Practices

Best Management Practice (BMP) Reason For Practice Benefits to Customer
Clean grease trap/interceptor on a routine basis Without proper cleaning, effectiveness is reduced Avoid sewer surcharges, sewer line backups or costly line replacement
Keep a maintenance log Serves as a record of frequency Keep a maintenance log Serves as a record of frequency and volume Can help optimize cleaning frequency and reduce cost
Perform post service inspections Ensures the services performed Perform post service inspections Ensures the services performed were actually received Ensures that value is received from service provider
Recycle waste cooking oil and implement BMP Environmentally friendly and required under some laws Opportunity to obtain value for waste cooking oil
Properly train kitchen staff and other employees Ensures understanding of the program Increased chance of successful implementation of program
Post “No Grease” signs above sinks and near drains Serves as constant reminder Minimizes discharge to traps
Secure floor drain covers and screens Avoids temptation for short cuts Reduces introduction of large items into drain