Grease interceptors should be inspected regularly and cleaned on a regular basis to ensure efficient operation. The District suggests that they be cleaned no less than bimonthly. The need and frequency of cleaning will vary greatly depending on the nature of the establishment. Factors such as food types, preparation methods, cleaning techniques, and carry-out versus dine-in, all will determine the volume of grease discharged. Facilities with high grease loads may have to clean their interceptors as often as monthly. Facilities with under-sized interceptors, especially under-the-counter units, may have to clean weekly or even daily. To properly clean a grease interceptor, the entire contents (liquids and solids) must be pumped out. Leaving accumulated solids in the bottom of grease interceptors can lead to short-circuiting and reduced retention times, as well as very unpleasant odors.

As noted above, the required maintenance frequency for grease interceptors and traps depends greatly on the amount of grease a facility generates as well as any best management practices (BMPs) that the establishment implements to reduce the grease discharged into its sanitary sewer system. In many cases, an establishment that implements BMPs will realize financial benefit through a reduction in their required grease interceptor and trap maintenance frequency.

Maintenance of external large-capacity grease interceptors should be performed by qualified grease haulers or rendering companies. These services typically will empty the entire contents with a pumper truck and haul the grease and sludge to an approved disposal site. A list of local grease haulers is available on our website. Smaller under-counter grease interceptors (grease traps) can be cleaned by in-house staff. Please refer to the manufacturers cleaning procedures, as cleaning methods may vary with the type of unit. The District requires that cleaning events be recorded in a maintenance log and kept on file. When performed properly and at the appropriate frequency, grease interceptor and trap maintenance can greatly reduce the discharge of fats, oil, and grease (FOG) into the wastewater collection system.

Warning! Do not use hot water, acids, caustics, solvents, or emulsifying agents when cleaning grease traps and interceptors. This will cause the grease to move down the line and potentially clog the sewer mains, resulting in a spill.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the Lake County Special Districts Administration at 707-263-0119.