PHOENIX GREASE TRAP & INTERCEPTOR SERVICES
Phoenix, AZ Grease Trap Service FAQ
We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions along with brief answers that will help you determine if you require the professional help of Phoenix Grease Trap and Interceptor Services.
What exactly is a grease trap?
During the process of cooking, several byproducts and waste are created which need to be collected and disposed of. These are fats, oils and greases (aka FOGs), which if not controlled will enter your plumbing and even the city sewer and water disposal systems, causing serious problems such as clogs and contamination. Grease traps are mandated by health and safety laws in each state and county. They are usually installed under the sink in a relatively small kitchen, and outdoors underground to service large food serving establishments and are closely monitored by local authorities.
So, a grease trap is where I dispose of waste grease?
Not exactly. A grease trap is not a grease disposal unit. Any waste grease you have must be disposed of properly, not in the grease trap. They are intended to capture any FOG that happens to enter them, and separate the greasy waste FOG from the water.
Who says I need a grease trap?
All cities and counties require the installation of grease traps as a licensing requirement in all food serving establishments. This is because the sheer volume of FOGs generated by the many commercial restaurants connected to the city sewer and water processing system would overwhelm them, eventually completely clogging them and rendering them inoperable. We at Phoenix Grease Trap Services are well versed in the local regulations governing the installation and maintenance of grease traps.
Just how a grease trap operates
In the course of regular food preparation, FOGs find their way into the sink. The first stop for everything that goes down the drain is the grease trap. The grease trap incorporates the use of a tank in which the FOGs, being lighter than the water, float. This separates the water from the greasy waste and allows the water to pass freely into the sewer system. The FOGs remain in the tank, eventually occupying a certain percentage of the capacity. At this point the grease trap tank needs to be pumped out and cleaned. Phoenix has their own regulations specifying at what point the capacity has been reached. Please call us to set up a consultation.
What does the maintenance of my grease trap involve?
The amount of training of your own house personnel and the acquisition of the specialized pumps and tools would be beyond the budget of any restaurant. That’s why we are in business at Phoenix Grease Trap Services. We’ve seen the result of those establishments who have tried the do-it-yourself method. They actually end up wasting money and resources when their whole purpose was to try to save money.
But there are many other things you can do to make the maintenance and servicing of your grease trap simpler and less expensive:
● Learn how to handle FOGs and train your staff to do it properly
● Before attempting to wash them, pre-clean food waste from plates
● Use sink drain traps to capture any food solids before they enter your drain
● Inspect the grease trap from time to time. Look for obvious wear or damage. Is there a noxious odor coming from the unit? If so, it’s possible that the gasket seal for the lid
● Examine the trap for wear and damage from time to time. If you notice an odor coming out of the trap, it may be an indication that the gasket seal under the lid needs to be replaced.
How is trapped grease typically disposed of?
In most cases, we don’t simply dispose of the “brown grease,” as it is called, in a landfill. It can be recycled and repurposed to be used as an alternative fuel for use in boilers or even some vehicles. While it cannot be reused for any food uses for animals or otherwise, it is often used as a soil additive in agriculture.
Some service providers collect used cooking oil or bone scraps for repurposing as an animal feed, but this cannot be transported in the same vehicle as brown grease, even though they may also service your grease trap. In addition, different facilities are used for animal food processing.
Most often, it is not possible to recycle or reuse brown grease from your grease trap. In those cases, it will be disposed of according to regulations at an eco-friendly waste facility.
How do I know the size of grease trap that is required for my establishment?
Because there are so many variables which determine the precise size of grease trap your food serving establishment requires, it’s best to arrange an in-house consultation with Phoenix Grease Trap Services, so we can cover over each, step by step.
There are two main facets of deciding the correct size grease trap needed for your restaurant. Of course, your own facilities have specific needs, but probably more importantly, it must be in line with the mandates of Phoenix health and safety regulations.
Many local authorities require a minimum size grease trap for any establishment, regardless of size. That will make your decision much easier since usually they mandate a grease trap system that is quite oversized. Even if no minimum size is required, we find it’s best to choose a system which has a higher capacity than you know you’ll need, just to be on the safe size. The additional cost isn’t much for the peace of mind you’ll have. If you are operating a large commercial food serving establishment, you may need a grease interceptor, which are much larger and must be installed buried outdoors. Of course we at Phoenix Grease Trap Services will carefully consider all options to fit your needs and your budget. Call us for an in-house consultation today!
Can I get a grease trap from Phoenix Grease Trap Services?
Sorry, we are not a supplier of grease traps, nor do we install them, we only perform grease trap cleaning services. However, we can recommend a reliable licensed plumber in the Phoenix area who will be happy to supply you with the right unit for the requirements of your particular establishment as well as the regulations of the Phoenix health department.
Let us at Phoenix Grease Trap Services know when you have finally selected and installed your grease trap and we will be happy to help you stay within the code while keeping it in top shape.
What kind of schedule should I keep for grease trap cleaning services?
There are far too many variables, from the size of your business, to the number of servings you prepare weekly, for us to make a definite estimate. It’s best to let us give you an in-house consultation so that we can take into account all factors involved.
What is the procedure for cleaning a grease trap?
The health and safety code of Phoenix outlines the required procedure to be used in cleaning grease traps, according to the specific type of business. Of course, it’s only prudent to enlist the services of a licensed grease trap services company, who is reliable and can keep you within the stipulations of the law.
One factor that weighs heavily on your choice of the right grease trap services provider is are they up-to-date with all applicable health and safety codes? It’s not uncommon for clients to attempt to do the maintenance services themselves, only to find they have inadvertently found themselves in violation of regulations they were unaware of. In addition, it often takes them more than one attempt at doing the job right themselves. Grease trap cleaning is one of the least pleasant tasks one can ask of their employees. Especially when they are unqualified and ill-equipped to do a proper job.
While it’s not impossible for one to do an acceptable grease trap cleaning independently, at least try to learn the basics of the procedures mandated by the Phoenix code. There are two basic techniques:
● Pump and Return. The entire contents are first pumped out. The grease, fat and oil are separated from the water and then the water is pumped back into the grease trap. This method is the most desirable. A good deal of grease trap service outfits don’t use this technique because it requires a special pump truck.
● Dry Pump. The entire contents are pumped out of the grease trap, until the tank is completely empty. The problem is that without any water in the tank, it will emit a powerful noxious odor until water is reintroduced.
At this point, your job is only half finished. All the contents you have removed from the grease trap must be disposed of properly and lawfully. It must be taken to an authorized, licensed facility for disposal, or you could very well be hit with a stiff penalty. If you need additional guidance, Phoenix city personnel will be happy to provide you with technical assistance and also help you by providing guidelines on FOG Best Management Practices and reduction methods to save you money down the line.
What does it mean when my plumber said I am responsible for all waste materials “from cradle to grave?”
As the licensed owner of your Phoenix based food serving establishment, all waste products created by your business are your property. It is solely your responsibility to be certain that any such waste is disposed of in an eco-friendly manner, regardless if you are the one handling the disposal, or if you have delegated a grease trap service company to do it for you. If your waste ends up at an unauthorized dump site, it is your responsibility and you will be held liable. For this reason you must be very careful with selecting your grease trap service provider. Our company, Phoenix Grease Trap Services, have built a reputation second to none, so you know you have made the right choice when you choose us.
What is the legal penalty of a grease trap overflow?
Just like any other violation of the law, that would depend on a few different factors which could compound your violation and elevate it to a more serious act. The authorities will look at:
● Have any violations been committed in the past
● Do samples contain excessive amounts of fat?
● Is a timely maintenance schedule in place, and has it been followed?
An additional factor is, what was the actual volume of the waste overflow? It’s best to consult with us, so we can apprise you of the regulations and the schedule of fines and other penalties that may be applicable to your establishment.
Help! My grease trap overflowed. What should I do?
You need to call Phoenix Grease Trap Services immediately following any major mishap, including any kind of overflow. We will come out promptly and remedy the problem immediately with a thorough pumping and cleaning. If you need the help of a plumber, due to a clog being responsible for the accident, please do so as well. It’s best to prevent such problems with a proper maintenance schedule. We can be reached at 602-223-1937.
There is a foul odor, but my grease trap had just been cleaned
There should be no detectable odor after a thorough grease trap cleaning. Most likely, one of the following conditions exist:
● The grease trap cover gasket may be damaged, preventing it from properly sealing. If the gasket is damaged on the grease trap cover, odors from within the trap can spread around the area. It should be replaced immediately.
● The outlet line of the grease trap may be backed up. This is most likely caused by a clog in the plumbing, so you will require the assistance of a plumber.
● The grease trap is still dry after it was completely pumped out. This is a minor issue. The odor will disappear in a very short time after water has been replenished, refilling the grease trap tank. Keep in mind that we at Phoenix Grease Trap Services use the pump and return method which prevents this very issue.
My grease trap is damaged. Can you fix it?
Sorry, we can only perform required servicing of your grease trap. This would include:
● Periodic monitoring of your grease trap during scheduled services.
● Inspection of each component of the grease trap to assure the continuing flawless operation and report to you any issues that we find, along with recommendations to remedy those problems
● We regularly check the integrity of the operation of your grease trap and keep you apprised if we find something that needs the attention of a plumber.
Is a Grease Interceptor the Same as a Grease Trap?
While both a grease trap and grease interceptor capture greases and food solids and prevents them from leaving the premises, a grease interceptor is designed for high volume food serving establishments, so naturally it is much larger. In addition, a grease interceptor is typically located outdoors and buried underground, between the drain and the sewage system.
What does the Abbreviation HGI Stand For?
HGI is shorthand for hydromechanical grease interceptor. It’s just another fancy word for what is commonly referred to as a grease trap. As we have already disclosed, a grease trap is usually installed immediately under the kitchen sink. The size of a grease trap is dependent upon the volume of grease-laden water, and usually can handle any volume up to 50 GPM.
What does the Abbreviation GGI Mean?
GGI is another term describing a grease interceptor. As previously mentioned, grease interceptors are usually buried outdoors between the sink drain and sewer system entrance. The size of common grease interceptors can vary from around 1000 gallons to over 4000. As with the grease trap, the purpose of this system is to capture FOGs and allow water to continue to flow.
What kind of maintenance does my grease interceptor require?
For the purpose of the grease interceptor to be fulfilled, it is essential that the required maintenance is performed to prevent FOG wastes from entering the sewer system. If this duty is neglected, it can have serious implications including clogs in the connected pipes, caused by FOGs entering the plumbing and hardening into clogs. The result will be backups of waste and noxious odors in your establishment, as well as potentially hazardous effects. In addition, clogs affecting your own premises can create overflows that can not only be detrimental to the environment, but also damaging to your neighbor’s interests.
If this occurs, you can be faced with hefty fines and other penalties imposed by the local authorities due to violation of health and safety codes, and you are responsible for any resulting costs to repair any property damage.
What Kind of schedule is required for my grease interceptor maintenance?
The best approach to keep your HGI (grease trap) operating smoothly and effectively, is monthly servicing. For GGIs (grease interceptors), four times per year will usually suffice.
Health and safety regulations generally mandate that commercial kitchens must keep a schedule of periodic pumping and cleaning for grease interceptors. Cleaning them on a schedule based on need is not sufficient. Nor is any other non-regular system of maintenance. The local Phoenix health and safety office are always willing to give you any technical guidance you need, if you have any concerns.
I want to use my own employees to clean my grease interceptor.
Pumping and cleaning grease interceptors requires extensive training, as well as specialized pumps and tools to do the job properly. Even if your team has sufficient training, do you have the budget to equip them with the thousands of dollars worth of specialized equipment hey will need, that will only be used a few times per year? For a fraction of that cost, you can employ the services of Phoenix Grease Interceptor Services, who is a long time member of the city’s Preferred Pumper Program.
The Preferred Pumper Program is composed of grease interceptor service providers who are certified in the expertise in their field, who are well versed in the methodology instituted by the Phoenix health department. As the name indicates, Phoenix prefers and encourages the use of PPP members.
The cost of retaining a Preferred Pumper sounds expensive.
On the contrary, the local authorities regulate PPPs to assure their rates are reasonable and affordable. One of the requirements is they are required to offer flat rates, or fixed price per gallon rates for each service they provide. Of course, feel free to shop around, but you will find that the best option is to go with Phoenix Interceptor Services due to our extensive experience in our field
Also, it is a wise choice to avail of the city’s offer of advice related to waste grease reduction techniques, as well as the institution of their Best Management Practices.
If you have any further questions or concerns, concerning any topics included in this FAQ, or other specific requests, please feel free to call us at 602-223-1937.
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