sEATTLE Grease Trap Services
FAQ: Grease Trap Services in Seattle
Here are some questions and answers you might be interested in either before or after you call us for your restaurant grease trap cleaning services in Seattle.
What is a grease trap?
A grease trap is a container that collects fat, oil, and grease (FOG) that goes down the sink during usual kitchen operations. Most often, they are placed outdoors and underground. Grease traps are legally required for commercial kitchens in Washington to prevent FOG from accessing the city water system. They collect the FOG and separate it from the water before it reaches the water system. That’s why they are regulated and closely monitored by local enforcement agencies.
Can I dispose of grease into a grease trap?
No, you can’t. Grease traps are not intended for grease disposal. Never empty grease into them if you want to avoid problems in your kitchen. They are designed to catch FOG that does enter them. They are not, however, a grease disposal system. Do NOT overload them.
Why do I need a grease trap?
Municipalities, including the City of Seattle, want to minimize the risks of polluting the city water system. That’s why they require installing grease traps in commercial kitchens. If you produce fat, oil, and grease in your kitchen, there is no doubt that you have to install one at your location. Seattle Grease Trap Pumping follows the grease-trap-regulations in Seattle closely to ensure that you have it installed and maintained according to the legal requirements.
How does a grease trap work?
The grease enters the trap and gets separated from the water. The trap has a holding container where grease stays afloat, and the wastewater goes down a pipeline to the city sewer system. Grease that stays inside eventually fills up and has to be cleaned. There are several methods to do this and every city government has different requirements. When you call us for your restaurant grease trap cleaning services, you’ll have your trap cleaned according to the City of Seattle standards.
How can I maintain my grease trap?
The best way to maintain your grease trap properly is not by trying to do it yourself, but hiring professionals like Seattle Grease Trap Pumping. We have cleaned up the damages after many clients who attempted the do-it-yourself approach. They wanted to save money by conducting their own restaurant grease trap cleaning services but ended up losing money instead.
Aside from hiring professional restaurant grease trap cleaning services, here’s what else you can do to ensure proper maintenance:
- Educate your staff on handling grease and food waste.
- Scrape the food waste from plates before cleaning them.
- Capture debris before reaching the pipelines by using sink covers.
- Examine the trap for wear and damage from time to time. If you notice an odor coming out of the trap, it may be time to check out if the gasket sealing the lid to the trap needs to be replaced.
Can you recycle trapped grease and how is it used?
Yes, trapped grease can be recycled and reused. The removed grease is commonly called “brown grease” and, where regulations allow, is repurposed as boiler fuel or something else. It can’t be used as food for animals, nor can it be processed where animals are being fed, or food ingredients are being produced.
If you use services by a provider who collects bone scraps and cooking oil for use in producing animal food, they may service your grease trap as well, but different vehicles must be used. Also, the grease from your trap can’t be taken to the same facility where animal food is made.
However, recycling and reusing trap grease is not very common. Most often, it will be taken to facilities where it is disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.
What size of grease trap do I need?
Choosing the right size for your kitchen grease trap is very important for the smooth running of your business. It is best to consult a professional, such as those at Seattle Grease Trap Pumping, before choosing one.
In any case, there are two criteria you should have in mind when choosing a grease trap: the particular needs of your business and the requirements of the Seattle regulations.
Local governments sometimes require a certain size of a grease trap according to the type and size of business. If that’s the case in your situation, the decision is basically made for you. If there are no such requirements, or you think that your business needs a larger grease trap than the legally required size, you have to take into account only your business needs. On average, exterior grease traps are 1000 gallons and larger. Investing in a grease trap is an investment that requires careful consideration. Call Seattle Grease Trap Pumping for advice on which size trap is best for your needs.
Where can I get a grease trap?
We do not sell or install grease traps as part of our restaurant grease trap cleaning services. A licensed plumber can help you purchase and install a grease trap that fits your business needs. Don’t forget to take into account the size of your business as well as the requirements of the local regulations.
Once you get one, we at Seattle Grease Trap Pumping are at your service for maintaining your grease trap to keep it running properly and keep you away from troubles with the law.
How often should I schedule grease trap cleaning services?
It varies from business to business depending on the size. The more grease your kitchen produces, the more often you’ll need to have it cleaned and serviced. For this reason, we design a customized maintenance schedule for each individual client.
How to clean a grease trap?
There are several methods to clean a grease trap. Seattle dictates the proper method for certain types of businesses. To ensure that you clean it according to the laws, we recommend using a restaurant grease trap cleaning services provider that is a licensed and reputable company.
We can’t stress enough how important is to hire a provider that is up-to-date with all the regulations to ensure compliance from your side. We have had many clients running to us after trying the do-it-yourself approach. One attempt to clean their grease trap and dispose of the material by themselves, is usually enough to convince a restaurant owner never to try this again. It is one of the most unpleasant and labor-demanding tasks to ask from you or your employees. When someone is inexperienced and unqualified for the job, it often ends in a messy disaster.
However, if you are determined to do it yourself, first you should learn what methods the city requires for your business. It could be one of the following two methods:
- Pump and Return – The fat, oil, and grease are pumped out of the grease trap and separated by water. Then the water is then returned into the grease trap. This is the preferred method. A special vehicle is necessary, so some grease trap services providers don’t offer this method as a service.
- Dry Pump – All the content from your grease trap is removed, and the tank is left dry. Until the water is introduced again, it can spread a strong unpleasant odor.
Finally, keep in mind that the waste you’d remove from the grease trap is your responsibility, even after removing it from your property. Make sure that you (if you do it yourself) or your service provider disposes of it at an authorized location, or you will be fined.
Is it okay to put grease down the drain?
You should never put grease down the drain because it will solidify and clog your pipes. As a result, you may experience overflows and backups, as well as damages to your plumbing system and issues with the sewage system. Pouring grease down the drain can lead to hefty fines from the City.
“The grease trap company said I am responsible for the material from cradle-to-grave.” What does that mean?
You, as a Seattle business owner, have a duty to ensure that the material removed from your grease trap is being disposed of in a legal and environmentally-friendly way. If your non-reputable and reckless service provider cleans your trap and disposes of the waste at an unauthorized location, you’ll be held responsible. That’s why you should be careful when choosing your kitchen grease trap service provider. Working with reputable companies, such as Seattle Grease Trap Pumping, is the only way to be confident that you’ve made the right choice.
What are the fines if the trap overflows?
It is impossible to come up with a specific number because the fines depend on several factors. If your trap overflows, the local authority will take into consideration the following:
- Is this your first overflow?
- Do trap grease samples exceed in fat?
- Have you maintained the trap regularly?
The fines also vary by the size and type of your business. Talk to your grease trap service provider to learn more about the fines and regulations that may apply to you and your business.
My grease trap overflowed. Can you help?
Yes, our restaurant grease trap cleaning services can help right away for emergencies like this. Call us at 206-880-7424 to get in touch. We’ll be happy to clean and service the trap, but if a clog has caused the overflow, we’ll also need the help of a plumber. Keep in mind that a regularly serviced and maintained grease trap doesn’t overflow, and together we can avoid this problem for your business in the future.
Why does my restaurant smell just after I had my trap cleaned?
The most common causes of smell right after you had your trap cleaned are:
- The gasket around the manhole cover may be worn out or corroded. If that’s the case, it allows gasses to leave your grease trap and spread around the restaurant. Such a gasket requires immediate change.
- There could be back up in the line of the trap. Most often it is caused by food and grease clogs that require plumber’s intervention.
- Your grease trap service provider used the dry pumping method to clean your trap. The odor will disappear very soon. If you want to avoid that odor in your restaurant again, ensure you call for “grease trap cleaning near me” that employs the pump and return method.
I have a grease interceptor. Do I need a grease trap?
If you have a grease interceptor, then you have a grease trap. It is the same thing.
Do you repair grease traps?
We don’t offer repair grease trap services currently, but we do the following:
- We monitor your grease trap during service visits.
- We examine the condition of your grease trap and make recommendations for better models and maintenance in order to avoid defects.
- We do regular grease trap checks to ensure that it runs well and doesn’t need a plumber’s intervention.
If you have any other questions about grease trap or our restaurant grease trap cleaning services, just give us a call! We offer free estimates for your business.
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