A beginner’s guide to grease traps

Last year, newspapers and TV reported with horrified fascination on the fatberg that had been discovered in the London sewer system – 10 tons of fat which had congealed into a huge lump which was blocking a sewer.

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Are fatbergs inevitable?

It’s inevitable that restaurants and cafes produce grease as a byproduct of cooking. But blocking the sewers isn’t inevitable if grease traps are used. It’s often the case that the fat blockage is actually on the restaurant’s property, rather than in the main drains, and in that case, a specialist plumber has to be called to unclog the pipes. This can be expensive, and it’s not necessary if the business manages its output of oils and fats and installs a grease trap.

If the drains are already clogged with grease, they will have to be cleaned out before the grease trap is installed. But at least you’ll know that it’s not a job that will need to be repeated in the future.

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How do grease traps work?

Grease traps work by separating the lighter oils from the heavier fats. The fats sink to the bottom, and the lighter oils rise to the top. In the middle, is a space that the wastewater runs through, allowing it to go down the drain.

Many councils require that the grease trap is compliant with the relevant British Standard – https://www.arun.gov.uk/running-a-food-business and it’s also an area of concern for water companies because the blockages can cause wastewater to back up into sinks and toilets in people’s homes.

Grease traps need to be durable, and stainless steel grease traps https://www.ukgreasetrapsdirect.co.uk/stainless-steel-grease-traps are usually recommended because they perform well, are durable and are robust enough to stand up to the required maintenance regime.

A manual grease trap needs to be cleaned regularly if it’s to maintain peak efficiency. This can be done by the kitchen staff, or by a contractor who provides this service. Even an automatic grease trap that dumps the grease into a container, will need cleaning periodically.

When you’re buying a grease trap, look for those that are capable of handling the amount of grease that the business is generating, particularly if there are multiple combi ovens in use. A fully automatic and efficient grease trap of the right capacity and size can provide effective and trouble-free grease management.