In virtually every commercial kitchen application, a grease trap or a grease interceptor needs to be installed and maintained. In many municipalities, fats, oils and grease (called FOG in the industry) are considered a hazardous substance and need to be cleaned up and disposed of by a grease collector or a recycling company.
Although basic grease trap maintenance will be discussed here, you may want to consult with the municipal wastewater personnel in your area to determine the best and most acceptable legal ways to maintain your grease trap
Dumping oils and grease down a drain is one of the worst things you can do for a grease trap. This action will cause the trap to fill quickly, and it will need to be cleaned and maintained more often. Likewise, food waste should also be strained out of the drainage system and should be discarded in another way. Inexpensive plastic strainers are a far less costly method to keep food particles out while saving valuable time and money from unwarranted grease trap cleaning.
In most cases, grease traps will need to be cleaned manually. There will generally be an easily accessible clean-out port where the grease can be collected by shoveling, vacuuming and/or scrubbing. The accumulated grease from the trap can then be discarded and not allowed to drain away into the wastewater system.
In many cases, a professional grease trap cleaning company can be called in to take care of the problem. They can do routine maintenance on a regular schedule, and the results will be fast and efficient. However, you'll pay for this labor. Yet for larger establishments, this might be a cost effective solution due to the skill and quickness that can be expected from a professional trap cleaning service.
One way to keep manual grease trap maintenance to a minimum is to introduce bacteria additives to the drain system. The bacteria additive will literally eat and digest the grease in a trap and drain lines, which will then drain off harmlessly into the wastewater pipes.
Bacteria can be poured into drains and traps on a periodic basis, or pumps can be installed that automatically infuse grease eating bacteria into the system. Either way, this method will substantially cut down on manually cleaning out your grease trap, perhaps to as little as once yearly from a professional service.
Check with your wastewater official to find out if bacteria additives are viable and legal alternatives for your grease trap drainage system.