Diagnosing Grease Problems in Restaurants and Lift Stations

“Diagnosing grease problems in restaurants and lift stations” is a full time job. Anyone who has worked in restaurants knows first hand the hassles and safety hazards grease can cause. Messy and smelly clean ups from plugged grease traps or backed up drains is a common experience for restaurant employees. Municipalities have full time maintenance crews just to clean and fix equipment damaged by grease build up and grease stoppages. All these types of grease problems can be frustrating and costly to restaurants and government entities.”

Restaurant Grease Problems:
Here is a list of the safety hazards and economic damages associated with grease problems at restaurants:

Employee or customer slips and falls from grease build up on tile floors
Lost business from customers being turned off by odors coming from the grease trap or drains
Grease fires from grease building up on kitchen exhaust hoods
Sewer smells, drain flies and drain odors, plus rotten grease odors
Increased city FOG ( Fats, Oils, and Grease ) charges
Down time when the three compartment sink is backed up

Grease problems in restaurants can put you out of business with one lawsuit, or will cost you lost revenues from customers not coming back after seeing dirty floors and black grout stains from grease! Don’t let this happen to your restaurant! Fight back with good grease trap maintenance, regular grease exhaust cleanings, and high quality floor cleaners. We recommend a restaurant grease trap use an automatic high quality biological grease trap treatment system to fight grease build up between regular grease trap cleanings. Every restaurant faces fats and grease on a daily basis. Kitchen grease, cooking grease, fry grease, bacon grease, chicken grease, yellow grease, bear grease, goose grease, and even alligator grease can all cause grease problems in your restaurant. You need grease relief or you will go crazy fighting grease problems.

Start by removing grease from your grease trap interceptors to avoid backups. Grease traps are designed to slow the wastewater flow down and let it cool so the grease will be caught by the baffles in the grease interceptor. This grease can be attacked and broken down within the grease trap by grease trap bacteria and enzymes. Even a excellent grease eating bacteria will not be able to consume all the grease flow produced by the average restaurant.

Sooner or later you will need to hire the grease man to bring his grease truck out to pump your grease trap and eliminate grease that has built up in your grease trap. Pumping and cleaning your grease inceptor on a regular schedule is a great way to clean grease or remove grease before it can cause you problems.

Most fats, oils, and greases used in the restaurant are biodegradable grease of one form or the other. Learn how FOG can be broken down and eliminated, thereby reducing your FOG charges ( if you are in an area with grease police and city FOG charges are applicable). Grease solvents are great for exhaust hood cleanings but you don’t want to put a grease solvent down the drain or in your grease trap. Also, never put your used fryer grease down the drains. Grease backing up in the three compartment sink, smells or odors from the three compartment sink, or slow running drains are an early sign of grease build up problems. Call your grease trap biological maintenance contractor and schedule a cleaning of your plumbing including the grease trap. If you are like most restaurant managers or owners, you don’t want the expense of calling in service professionals or paying for expensive cleaners. I can tell you one thing, no $1 per gallon bleach product or $5 per gallon floor cleaner is going to do a good job of eliminating grease from your restaurant. This is especially true of the grease on your floors. Your daily cleaning routine using cheap soaps dissolve the grease and dirt and then that dirt and grease get stuck in the grout lines during mopping of the floors.

Soaps make the grease soluble and it is just moved from one area of the floor to the next. The combination of the soap residue and the grease can make for a very slippery floor, that is an accident just waiting to happen. Whatever grease and dirt you do manage to pick up is then put down the drain and can cause drain line blockages over time. Help reduce the grease on your floors by using our high quality biological floor cleaner at least once a week. In the grease trap and drains use a high quality “GREASE” attacking biological treatment and apply that treatment when the least amount of water is going to flow through the grease trap and drains.

Bioremediation of the grease trap and drains needs to have retention time to build up bacteria and enzyme biofilms within the grease trap and drain lines. Removing grease from your restaurant operation is nearly impossible if you are not using the correct cleaning products and cleaning services. In fact harsh cleaners like bleach will do a lot of damage to the bacteria and enzymes in your grease trap and drain lines. If the cleaners kill germs, then they also kill the good bacteria and enzymes. Pay close attention to the dishwasher soaps, floor cleaning products, countertop cleaners, exhaust hood cleaners, and general cleaning products to find ones that are environmentally safe. These types of products have come a long way in the past few years and can do a great job of cleaning at a very affordable price.

Lift Station Grease Problems and Other Grease Problem Locations:
In lift stations the grease problems stem from the build up of grease on the floats, pumps, and walls of the pump chambers. Once grease has a hold it will cause grease blockages, grease clogs, and grease pit odors. All this grease builds up to a point where the floats and pumps can not work properly. Sometimes these grease problems cause the pump motors to burn out which results in very expensive repairs or replacements.

Wastewater treatment facilities, sewer manholes, septic system pumping chambers, apartment building main drain lines, strip mall sewer lines, and sludge ponds can all benefit from grease remediation techniques. But first learn how enzymes and bacteria attack grease vs how surfactants and solvents work on grease. The normal approach to solving grease buildup problems is to use high pressure jetting equipment to remove the grease from floats and pumps. But within days the grease starts to accumulate again if not treated properly with a high quality biological and enzyme treatment.

Another area of extreme grease problems is in small to large sludge ponds. When the sludge pond is overloaded with grease it will start a grease capping action on the water surface. Once this starts it will effect the performance of the sludge pond. The greater the grease capping the more oxygen is cut off and a reduction of sunlight will result.

These are both bad for a sludge pond. Soon there will be a terrible odor and things will deteriorate fast. Don’t let this happen to you. Be proactive and do regular biological treatments to help maintain a high level of bacterial action within your sludge ponds.

Grease problems in septic tanks and septic drainfield is another area of concern. Specific grease problems can occur in the pump chambers of mound septic systems, grease capping of septic drainfields, and grease problems in aerobic systems. Campground and RV park septic system problems are often related to grease overloading of the wastewater treatment systems. Mobile home parks, small housing communities with shared septic systems can be overloaded quickly as well. Remember to maintain high levels of biological activity in these systems, make sure to have the proper filters installed, and use your septic professional to have regular pump outs and cleanings.