Grease Trap Cleaning Done Right

Grease Trap Cleaning the right way.

To start with I would like to disambiguate what is meant by term ‘Grease Trap’.  Some people call the curve in a pipe underneath a sink a ‘Grease Trap’. Which is something of a misnomer; this device more appropriately, is actually called a P-Trap. Many people in the restaurant industry call the detachable containment structures at the ends of a grill a ‘Grease Trap’ (where the runoff accumulates from the grill). While this is the correct term for said structure, this is not the sort of grease trap we are discussing. Finally In the ventilation above most grills are some plates usually made from metal with grooves, these are also known as ‘Grease Traps’. While all three of these require cleaning from time to time and share the requisite title; they are not the type of Grease Trap we are referencing in this article. The type of grease trap that we are discussing is usually located in the parking lot of restaurants and cafeterias. Sometimes they are located beneath commercial grade sinks or in the floors of dining establishments.

A Grease Trap is a pretreatment system that was devised as a method of protecting both the municipal sewer system and the public health. Brown Grease (the terminology for grease from these Grease Traps) is residue from oily foods and dishes. This oil, if allowed to enter the public system would lead to an environment that encourages disease. The public health being at stake, almost all restaurants and cafeterias are required to maintain and install such a device by law. A Grease Trap is typically a = 1000 Gallon or more tank separated internally with ‘baffles’ that take advantage of the natural buoyancy of grease and oil causing them to float. These floating particles of grease have great difficulty clearing the baffles inside of the grease trap. On the other end of the spectrum is what we call sludge. Leftover food, particles and carbon seared on the grill that was bonded to the grease and washed down the drain. When these greasy particles get trapped by the baffles in the grease trap they will  over time separate. The grease rises to the top, the sludge when separated eventually sinks right to the bottom. This allows a clean less harmful, less disease prone effluent to pass safely out of the grease trap and into the city or county sewer system.

Quite naturally something as inherently foul as brown grease can and will degrade the performance of the Grease Trap over time. Pipes become clogged and filled with sediments and buildup. Collectively the substances that make up brown grease are known as FOG (Fats Oils and Grease). These substances can be derived from animals and plants or even dairy. Think of the amount of oily dishes from the last time you baked a cake in your home. Well restaurants do this on a much grander scale. Normal grease trap operation will usually handle all the throughput from a restaurant. City, County or Municipality officials will designate the size of the needed Grease Trap  for a given establishment based on max occupancy, food type and other factors. On typically a monthly or quarterly basis the restaurant will be required to have the trap serviced. A company, Such as Hulsey Environmental will show up in a pump truck and evacuate the tank. This is where you will discover the service difference between someone that skims, someone that pumps, or someone like Us that pumps and performs grease trap Cleaning.

That’s right, there is a big darned tooting difference between grease trap companies and the level of services they offer.

Tier three Grease Service Company

These guys might on the surface seem to be the cheapest, but they realize their profits at your expense. The best description might be that they are Grease Trap companies that are not thinking of the future. This is the majority of all companies that pump grease traps. They think of signing you up and milking you hard while driving down their own cost and placing the expense directly at your doorstep. These companies employ unscrupulous tactics such as ‘pump-n-dump’ or Skimming.

  • What’s Pump-n-Dump? They send out a truck and pump restaurant ‘A’. Then, instead of traveling to a proper disposal facility they travel to restaurant ‘B’ whom they know from historical patterns will likely not have much grease in the trap. They then fill up the grease trap of restaurant B with the waste from restaurant ‘A’s Grease Trap. 20 days later restaurant ‘B’ will have a grease trap emergency, resulting in an additional and unnecessary service call. This saves them double the money because they don’t have to pay for the disposal of the waste, nor the gas to drive their truck to the waste facility. It also guarantees them a service call from restaurant ‘B’ in the very near future.
  • What is this skimming of which you speak? Skimming is when they leave the sludge in the bottom and only suck the grease from the top. After a few months a restaurant will find they need massive repairs to their grease trap, and service calls for pumping all the time, because their grease trap is always half full of sludge!

How do they get away with it? Its simple, nobody wants to look in a grease trap and make sure it’s done right. Even if you look in a Grease Trap, even one that’s empty you will still see a cesspool of foul sewer water. Without the right equipment such as sludge judge, there is no way to tell. Even if you muster the initiative to get near something that smelly and gross.

Tier two Grease Trap Company

Got a grease trap? These guys will pump it for you. And if you have an emergency they will be there in a jiffy to fix it (at a cost). These guys are not totally corrupt, but they don’t really care about the health of your grease trap either. They do nothing special to make it last they just want to complete their route. They pump you then get onto the next guy.

Tier one Grease Trap Cleaning & Service Company.

This is a company like Hulsey Environmental. We here at Hulsey are looking at the long term view. That’s how we’ve been in business for 94 years. We aren’t trying to secure your business for 6 months or even a year. We are looking to make a lifelong customer of you by offering Grease Trap Cleaning as well as pumping. Hulsey employs high pressure jetting to clean the lines going into your trap and out to the municipal system. The savings you realize with us is over the life of your Grease Trap.


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