Grease Trap Interceptor Technology - By: greasetrap

Grease Trap technology and terminology is somewhat confusing. We use various names for grease trap technology including the grease trap, the grease interceptor, grease removal device, grease recovery device, and the grease separator. In some cases different names are used for the same technology. The terms Grease trap and grease interceptor are frequently interchanged.

Up till approximately the year 2000 the grease trap and grease interceptor were the only grease removal equipment for restaurant and food service wastewater. This technology has had few changes since the 1880ís.

The grease trap is found inside the walls of the restaurant or foodservice facility.
The grease trap is commonly associated to an above ground, small container that removes fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from wastewater using a system of internal baffles. 3-compartment sink and automatic dishwasher attach to the grease trapsí inflow.
Grease Traps are passive devices. Grease is less dense than water. (Grease floats) Food solids are denser than water. (Solids sink) As FOG enters the passive grease trap the food solids sink to the bottom of the tank and the layers of grease float to the top of the tank. The wastewater outflow from the grease traps ends up in the sanitary sewer or septic system.

The FOG as well as the food solids remain in the grease trap tank. The grease trap is constantly filling up with food waste. Grease traps must be emptied or serviced in a timely manner to be effective. It is recommended that grease traps be pumped out every 30 days. When the grease trap becomes full the trap will not stop any FOG from entering the sewer. A grease trap will typically only prevent 85% of the FOG from entering the sewer when well maintained. Since grease is made from animal by-products the FOG rots and gives off an unforgettable rancid odor. The grease trap traditionally comes in metal and plastic from 7lbs to 75lbs.

The Grease Interceptor is typically referred to a large in-ground tank found outside of the restaurant walls. The grease trap and grease interceptor work with close to the same principles. Since the grease interceptor has a very large tank the fats, oils and grease have time (retention time) to sink and rise in the tank similar to the smaller grease trap. Grease interceptors use gravity to do their work. Grease interceptors are very expensive to pump out due to the large amounts of waste liquids and food solids are held in the tank. Grease Interceptors commonly made of cement and fibreglass and range from 150 gallons to 2000 gallons for restaurant use.

The biggest flaws with grease traps and grease interceptors are sizing, pumping, and odors. As both grease devices become full the amount of recovered grease diminishes. Another common occurrence is a grease trap sized too large or too small.

If a grease trap is sized too small the hot and rapid outflow of wastewater from an automatic dishwasher and/or 3-compartment sink will bypass the grease trap or interceptor completely. In this case neither device will stop any FOG from entering the drain.

If the devices are sized too large the FOG will remain in the tanks for a very long period of time. Rotting grease takes a toll on cement, plastics, and steel. Rotting grease reduces the lifetime of grease traps and grease interceptors.

Restaurants must pay monthly for grease trap pumping. This is an expense that remains constant throughout the life of the restaurant. The rotted waste grease (brown grease) pumped out of the traps and interceptors ends up in landfill sites. Unfortunately the process of recycling brown grease is not universal throughout North America.

Ask your local dishwasher about the rancid odors of a grease trap or interceptor.

To summarize, conventional grease traps and grease interceptors are typically not maintained on a monthly schedule. The result is grease blockages to sanitary sewer systems. A sanitary sewer overflow causes human waste to spill into out streets and fresh water sources like lakes and rivers through storm drains.

Please give this concept a little thought. It is your drinking water.

Grease Trap technology and terminology is somewhat confusing. We use various names for grease trap technology including the grease trap, the grease interceptor, grease removal device, grease recovery device, and the grease separator.

Glenn Martin works for Goslyn Ontario selling Goslyn Automated Grease Recovery Devices. Additional information and photographs on grease trap interceptor technology can be found at this link.

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