What is the difference between a Grease Trap and a Grease Interceptor?
Nothing. The terms "interceptor" and "trap" are completely interchangeable.
What is a Grease Interceptor?
A Grease Interceptor is a passive plumbing control device designed to reduce the amount of fats, oils and greases (FOG) and food solids that enter the sanitary sewer collection system or on-site waste treatment system. In the case of a sewer system, local regulating authorities set by-law limits to the amounts of FOG and solids concentration that is permitted in the discharge wastewater. In the case of on-site treatment (or septic) systems, excessive FOG and solids will cause serious operational problems that can lead to system failure.
How does a Grease Interceptor work?
An interceptor is a tank specially designed to reduce the velocity of wastewater and allow the separation of the wastewater into three basic fractions - floatables (fats, oils & greases), solids and water - and allow the discharge of only the water fraction.
This separation occurs because some wastes (such as fats, oils and greases) are lighter than water and others (such as food particles) are heavier. The lighter material floats to the top of thinterceptor and is retained or intercepted.
The heavy material sinks and is retained or intercepted, and the 'clean' water layer in the middle is allowed to pass out of the interceptor to the sewer.
Is my Grease Interceptor properly sized?
Unfortunately, Grease Interceptor manufactures are NOT required to design interceptors to meet sewer-use bylaws, and only a very few do. As a result, most Grease Interceptors are seriously undersized and incapable of removing adequate amounts of FOG waste from wastewater. For a detailed discussion on sizing see: Grease Interceptor Sizing.
What is a flow restrictor, and do I need one?
A flow restrictor is a device designed to constrict the drainage pipe size between a plumbing fixture and the Grease Interceptor that services it, and thus, reduce the drainage flow so that a smaller Grease Interceptor can be used. Flow restrictors cause sinks, and the fixtures they service, to discharge very slowly (by as much as 10 times slower) and are extremely susceptible to causing drain blockages. Flow restrictors are required wherever small "box-type" Grease Interceptors are used. Removing a flow restrictor will severely reduce the Grease Interceptor's efficiency. We strongly recommend you avoid Grease Interceptors that require a flow restrictor, and if you have a flow restrictor you never remove it. For more information see Flow Restrictors.
Why do I need my Grease Interceptor pumped?
The amount of waste (floated or settled) that a Grease Interceptor can hold is limited by the overall size (volume) of the interceptor. The smaller the interceptor, the less waste can be held. As waste accumulates, the efficiency, or ability of the interceptor to separate waste is diminished. The interceptor must be emptied periodically, before the efficiency is decreased enough to allow waste to discharge into the sewer system.
If waste is allowed to discharge (particularly fats, oils and greases) you will/could:
- be in violation of sewer-use bylaws;
- be susceptible to costly drain blockages and the potential disruption/damages they cause;
- be liable for damages and clean-up costs, if discharged waste (grease, etc.) causes a blockage downstream off property. These costs are usually very high, as municipal sewers are quite large and when a blockage occurs can detrimentally affect many users. Considerable amounts of FOG can build up over long periods of time, even from the smallest generator; and,
- cause expensive (and sometimes irreparable) damage to your on-site treatment system, and/or septic bed.
How often should I clean my Grease Interceptor?A Grease Interceptor only needs to be cleaned (emptied) when enough waste has accumulated to degrade its ability to affectively continue to separate waste. At this point the Grease Interceptor is bypassing waste to the sewer. The amount of waste a particular interceptor can retain is based on its waste retention capacity and its efficiency (see Interceptor Sizing).
Our technical service and sales staff determine optimal service intervals based on each individual site's waste accumulation rates and the size/efficiency of the Grease Interceptor (for more information see Frequency of Service). In addition, some municipal jurisdictions have mandated minimum service requirements.
Ask one of our representatives for the by-law requirements in your area.
Western Canada: 1-800-571-1628 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Canada: Toll-free: 1-800-661-4613 / email@example.com
Why does my Grease Interceptor smell - and what can I do to control the odours?
The waste captured in the Grease Interceptor is organic. The Grease Interceptor is designed to capture and retain waste. Organic waste decomposes (rots) over time. As it decomposes, it creates odorous gasses. To minimize grease trap odours you can:
- reduce the amount of waste discharged down the drain - always use sink strainers, etc.
- make sure the Grease Interceptor lid is properly sealed and secured
- make sure that fixtures connected to a Grease Interceptor have P-traps which are properly primed and full of water
- have your Grease Interceptor serviced regularly, before organic waste can begin to decompose too badly
What do you do with the waste that is removed from my Grease Interceptor?
Grease Interceptor waste must be disposed or recycled, in government approved disposal/recycling facilities. We have access to most, not all approved disposal/recycling facilities, as well as operating our own patented, direct land application processing/treatment process. The huge volume of waste that we collect ensures us access to the lowest-cost approved disposal/recycling alternatives.
You just pumped my Grease Interceptor yesterday - why is it full already?
A Grease Interceptor is always full of water. It takes very little grease to float and cover the surface of the water giving the appearance that the interceptor is full. An interceptor only needs to be cleaned (emptied), when sufficient amounts of waste have accumulated to reduce the interceptor's ability to separate waste - see How often should I clean my Grease Interceptor?
Does regular scheduled interceptor servicing ensure that I will never have a drain blockage?
No. Unfortunately, all Grease Interceptors allow some amounts of grease and solids to discharge into the drainage system. In addition, there are many factors that contribute to drain blockages, including drain piping deficiencies, discharging waste down the drain, having drains that are not connected to an interceptor, etc. Regular scheduled interceptor maintenance, performed on an adequate frequency cycle, combined with a properly sized and installed interceptor, is the best protection you can provide. (For more information see Drain and Sewer Flushing and Maintenance.)
Why is my Grease Interceptor backing up, or flooding?
A Grease Interceptor will back up or flood only if there is a problem with the lid fastening system, and one of the following occurs:
- the drainage system downstream is blocked or partially blocked, causing the drain exiting the interceptor to flow slower than the drain entering the interceptor;
- the outlet port of the Grease Interceptor is blocked or partially blocked, restricting the flow of waste out of the interceptor; or
- the Grease Interceptor is full of waste, which causes the outlet and drain to become blocked.
A proper cleaning schedule combined with our Clean-Flo preventative drain maintenance program should ensure that you never experience a Grease Interceptor backup or flood.
Why should I have my Grease Interceptor pumped on a regular scheduled basis?
Waste accumulates continuously, and the Grease Interceptor reaches capacity on a regular basis (see: How often should I clean my Grease Interceptor?). Regular scheduled service gives you the piece of mind that you never have to worry about waste discharging to the sewer and causing you to be:
- in violation of sewer-use bylaws;
- susceptible to costly drain blockages, and the potential disruption/damages caused thereby;
- liable for damages and clean-up costs, if discharged waste (grease, etc.) causes a blockage downstream, off property. These costs are usually very high as municipal sewers are quite large and when a blockage occurs, can detrimentally affect many users. Considerable amounts of FOG can build up over long periods of time, even from the smallest generator; and,
- susceptible to expensive (and sometimes irreparable) damage to your septic bed.
Why shouldn't I use enzymes or other products in my Grease Interceptor?
There are many products on the market that claim to reduce, or eliminate, the need for regular interceptor cleaning by reducing or even eliminating the accumulation or grease in the interceptor (for more information see: Chemical and Biological Additives).
New products come and go every week. Harsh chemicals can seriously damage pipes and/or the couplings that connect them. Some products simply "liquefy" the grease, which allows it to be flushed out of the interceptor, only to re-congeal down-stream and eventually causing even greater problems. Some "bacteria" based products claim to "digest" waste "naturally", however to our knowledge, no scientific proof exists that this actually occurs - and science suggests that it cannot.
Many of these products have serious health and safety risks associated with their handling and use. Almost all of the products we have reviewed, if used as directed, cost at least as much, and usually quite a bit more than a proper preventative maintenance pump-out program. As a property owner, you are responsible for what you discharge into the sewer system. As an employer, you are accountable for the health and safety of your staff. Drainage and sewer systems are extremely expensive to replace or repair, and you can be held financially responsible for blockages and/or damages down-stream.
For these reasons, we do not recommend the use of any drain cleaning or Grease Interceptor cleaning products.
How can you service my Grease Interceptor, so inexpensively?
We employ well-trained, fairly compensated technical service personnel and modern, specially designed vacuum truck equipment. We maintain complete liability insurance and comply with all workplace health and safety requirements. In addition, we have internal and/or third-party disposal costs associated with cleaning Grease Interceptors. Yet we are able to keep the pricing low by using proprietary state-of-the-art routing / scheduling / dispatch software, and modern well maintained tools and equipment. Our expertly trained staff know how to get the job done in the most efficient manner possible. Our customers benefit from our years of experience and the shear volume of service we perform.