The very first thing you need to know about grease traps is that if you own a commercial restaurant or kitchen in Raleigh, or anywhere really, then you need one in place.
Your commercial plumbing in Raleigh, NC shares a lot in common with smaller, somewhat less complex residential plumbing systems. One of these commonalities is that FOG (fats, oils, and grease) can do a lot of damage to the system in the form of clogs. And since commercial kitchens work with such high levels of production, FOG down the drains is something that’s impossible to avoid and is a serious threat.
Commercial grease trap systems are important in preventing clogged drains and sewer systems on your property. They’re also important for helping to protect the municipal plumbing system. More on that below. First, let’s talk a bit more about what these systems are and how they work.
The Functionality of a Grease Trap
Residential homes and properties very rarely would have a need for a designated grease trap. However, you should always be careful about not putting FOG down your drains at home. Because of the volume of cooking fats and grease, in addition to dirty dishes, though, commercial kitchens can run into very serious issues with grease buildup. The point of the commercial grease trap is to trap the grease before it ever enters the drainage system.
It does this by working similar to a miniature septic tank. Wastewater is held in the grease trap, and as it cools, the FOG hardens and floats to the top of the trap. It’s lighter than the water, which allows for this to happen naturally. Hard bits of food solids sink to the bottom of the grease trap. The wastewater is held in the middle, and once the separation has occurred, the wastewater is forced out of the trap and into the sewer.
What Happens to the Fog and Food Particles?
This is an important question to keep in mind! After all, just like a septic tank, there’s only so much room to be had for waste in the grease trap system. This is why you’ll need to have the grease trap cleaned out on a routine basis—much like a septic system has to be pumped.
You seriously don’t want to deal with a backed up grease trap, particularly when you have guests eating in your establishment. This grease and food waste does not emit a pleasant odor! Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.
Aside from the Smell, Why Does This All Matter?
When FOG enters the grease trap and cools off, it congeals and solidifies. Can you imagine this occurring in your drains and sewer system? It would lead to very serious clogs in a short amount of time.
As we mentioned above, you also have the municipal sewer system to think about. If the grease from all the restaurants in your area were just to flow out into the city’s sewer system… well… you can probably imagine the effects that it could have citywide. It wouldn’t be pretty! This is why commercial kitchens are required by law to have grease traps installed.