A grease trap is a required piece of equipment in a commercial kitchen. It prevents grease from accumulating in drain lines and causing problems.

1. Interior Trap Locations

Depending on your restaurant, location, and local code requirements, you may have one or more grease traps. Interior grease traps are typically located near the main sink, but large kitchens may have more than one interior trap if there are various sink areas where grease can collect. The trap is installed in line with the drain so that it can filter out fats, oils, and grease before they enter the main drain line.

2. Exterior Trap Responsibility

Exterior traps are similar to interior traps, but they are on the main sewer line for the building. These traps may service more than one establishment, such as in a strip mall situation. Responsibility for this trap may lay with the building owner or with the individual restaurant owners, so it is important to know which in the event of a problem.

3. Municipal Requirements

Local code will determine certain factors, such as the size of your grease trap and how often it must be cleaned. Cleaning schedules may also be determined by your kitchen's sewer output or size, or your municipality may have a single cleaning schedule requirement that applies to all kitchens. You must keep up with the required cleaning schedule, as failure to do so can result in health department actions such as fines or temporary closures. 

4. Signs of Trouble

Even with regular cleaning, the grease trap may suffer trouble at some point. If there are foul odors coming from the trap, poor drainage problems, or drain backups, then you need to call your cleaning service. A blockage has likely occurred, and it must be fixed before the trap will work properly again. In some cases, grease hardens in the trap and creates a dam, which then prevents all drainage until it is removed. 

5. Basic Maintenance

You can minimize grease trap issues with a bit of daily maintenance. Avoid putting large debris down the drains, as these can collect in the trap and cause blockages to form more quickly. Many restaurants install a "slam can," which is a hole near the dishwasher with a protective rubber ring over it. A trash can is placed beneath, and plates can be knocked safely against the ring to remove debris. It's also a good idea to periodically flush hot water down the drain to melt any collected grease in the trap and drains. 

Contact a kitchen grease trap cleaning service for more assistance.