Why do I need a grease trap?

Most municipalities require foodservice establishments to install a grease trap as a method of limiting the amount of greases and solids that are passed through their water treatment facilities. Businesses with commercial kitchens that produce fats, oils and grease must have an interceptor (or trap) to keep contaminates out of the city’s sewer system. As a national service provider, DAR PRO service technicians stay informed of the various municipal codes to ensure all service visits comply with current local, state and federal ordinances.

How can I maintain my grease trap?

  • Have your grease trap serviced regularly by a knowledgeable service provider, such as DAR PRO Solutions; this preventive maintenance will help you avoid costly backups and overflows, and the service tech can inform you of any visible damage needing repair or attention by a plumber.
  • The trap should be examined periodically for wear or damage; the gasket sealing the lid to the trap may need to be replaced if you notice smells emanating from the trap itself.
  • Educate your employees on handling grease and food waste.
  • Use drain covers in sinks to capture debris and never pour grease down the drain.
  • Scrape food off plates into trash before rinsing to avoid washing the food waste into your trap.

Can you recycle trap grease and how is it used?

While it is rare, trap grease can be recovered and recycled. The removed material is referred to as “brown grease” and is repurposed where regulations allow, most often as boiler fuel. Trap grease cannot be used for animal feed or pet food. Most commonly, trap grease material is collected and safely disposed of in an environmentally secure manner at licensed facilities.

What size grease trap do I need?

Most important is having the right size trap for your business, and having it serviced regularly by a licensed service provider who is familiar with FOG (Fats, Oils and Greases) regulations in your city. The size of a grease trap is largely determined by the amount of grease produced by the store. In some instances, municipalities regulate the size of the grease trap and will inform you of what is needed to satisfy local requirements. On average, the typical exterior grease trap is 1,000 gallons or larger. A consultation with a knowledgeable service provider, such as DAR PRO Solutions, a plumber, or a trap manufacturer can assess your needs and recommend the right trap and service schedule for your store.

How often should I have my grease trap cleaned or serviced?

The frequency of service is determined by the volume of grease produced and the size of your trap. Reputable companies servicing grease traps can work with your business to create a service schedule compliant with applicable regulations.

How does a grease trap work?

Typically, all kitchen drains are routed through a grease trap. The trap is a holding tank that separates grease and oils from the wastewater produced from sinks, floor drains and dishwashers. Water from these sources enters a grease trap where it is separated – grease floats to the top of the trap and is removed while the wastewater exits through an outlet pipe into the city’s sewer system. There are different methods on how the trap is cleaned (full pump or pump and return, for instance), often based on city requirements or service provider capability.

Is it ok to put grease down the drain? Isn’t that what the grease trap is for?

Grease should never be poured down a drain, as it will solidify while traveling through the pipe and can cause clogging, backups and overflows. Such blockages can not only damage your plumbing system, but it can also cause issues with local city sewage systems… and result in fines for the business owner. Grease traps are intended to capture residual grease and are not meant for the disposal of solid materials.

The grease trap company said I’m responsible for my grease from cradle-to-grave. What does that mean?

Store owners are responsible for their grease and ensuring material in their grease traps that cannot be recycled is disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. If a non-reputable service provider cleans your traps and dumps the removed material illegally, you can be held liable for that violation. Make sure you are working with a reputable company, such as DAR PRO Solutions, to ensure you are complying with all ordinances.

What are the fines if my grease trap overflows?

While the amount of the fine is generally determined at the municipal level, several factors are taken into consideration, such as the number of previous overflows, if grease trap services have been regularly maintained, and if trap samples exceed fat, oil and grease (FOG) limits. FOG regulations vary by city. Your service provider should be familiar with local FOG requirements so they can ensure your traps are being serviced, and trap material is being disposed of, in compliance with city regulations.

My grease trap overflowed. Can you help?

Many overflows may require the assistance of a plumber to clear any blockages. We are more than happy to remove the contents of the trap, but if a clog is the source of the overflow, a plumber will need to address the issue for the grease trap to function properly.

Why does my restaurant smell after I just had my trap cleaned?

There may be several causes for the smell.

  • A worn or corroded gasket around the manhole cover may allow gases from your grease trap to escape and drift into your restaurant.
  • There could be a backup in the line to the trap, caused by grease and food clogs; you will need to call a plumber to clear any clogs.
  • If the smell occurs right after a trap service visit, it could be associated with the method used to clean your grease trap and will soon dissipate. Please click here to learn more about the causes and solutions for smelly traps.

I have a grease interceptor. Do I need a grease trap?

A grease interceptor is commonly referred to as a grease trap. Both terms are referencing the same thing.

Do you repair grease traps?

This is not a service currently offered by DAR PRO Solutions; however, we do monitor your grease trap during service visits. As part of our consulting process, we will analyze the condition of your trap and make recommendations, should repairs be needed.

What is DAR PRO’s connection to Torvac, my grease trap service provider.

Our company, Darling Ingredients, acquired Torvac, a leading grease trap servicer in the greater Chicago area, several years ago. Because of Torvac’s fine reputation and loyal customer base, the name has lingered, but all former Torvac customers are now handled by us under the DAR PRO Solutions name.