Columbus GREASE TRAP SERVICES
FAQ: Grease Trap Services in Columbus
New food business owners often have several questions about grease trap pumping and interceptor cleaning services. These are some of the most frequently asked questions.
1. What is a grease trap?
In simple terms, a grease trap is a device that is installed underneath your sink to catch FOG before it reaches the City sewer system. There are different sizes and types of the grease trap, and the one ideal for your restaurant depends on the amount of grease you produce. The smaller capacity traps are installed underneath your kitchen sink while the larger traps are located underground outside your kitchen. Local officials have guidelines that all owners need to follow before they install grease traps. Grease traps perform the critical job of trapping oil and other food waste before it can reach the sewers and cause a blockage. To ensure that protocol is followed, the officials of the Columbus Health Department regularly conduct inspections in the area.
2. Why install a grease trap?
Grease traps are essential in any food business for two main reasons: first, they keep you and your business safe from fines and penalties, and second, they ensure that your restaurant is safe from fires and other health hazards. Once installed, you will also need to contact a contractor like Columbus Grease Trap Pumping to perform regular maintenance on your grease trap. Our company has been serving the City of Columbus for decades and are the best in the business. Working with us ensures your safety from the authorities.
3. How does a grease trap work?
Restaurants in Columbus are famous for their fried delicacies from humungous burgers to pizzas topped with hot dogs. Commercial kitchens that prepare a lot of fried food also create a lot of waste grease. This is where the grease trap comes in. A grease trap is a container that can be located either underneath your sink or outside the underground. Whatever type of grease trap you have, they all function in the same way-trapping dangerous oil before it reaches the sewer system. If oil leaks and ends up in the pipes, a host of issues can result from overflows to back-ups, which put the entire neighborhood in danger. This is why Columbus health inspectors are diligent in carefully monitoring all the restaurants in the City.
4. Can you throw grease directly into the grease trap?
That is not a good idea. A grease trap is far more than a garbage bin that you can throw your waste directly. Grease traps are designed to catch grease as it flows down your sink at a slow rate. Pouring grease directly into your trap could overwhelm the system so that it doesn’t do its job well. The more oil you throw into the trap, the higher the chances of it not working correctly. The best way to use a grease trap is to let it trap grease at the rate it enters.
5. Is it possible to clean a grease trap yourself?
Yes, it is possible, but whether it is a good idea is a different story. Our team at Columbus Grease Trap Pumping has dealt with many messy disasters caused by owners who tried a DIY approach instead of calling professionals. Grease trap cleaning requires a set of skills and specific equipment, so taking matters into your own hands is never a good idea.
To be sure your grease trap is cleaned in the fashion approved by authorities, always work with a certified company like ours. Although you or your employees could try to clean the trap, the problem is you are not qualified to do the job. The Columbus city code requires that grease trap cleaning and pumping only be done by professionals who follow set standards.
Even if you can’t or shouldn’t do grease trap cleaning yourself, there are a few things that you can and should do to try to keep your trap working well. Here are just four:
- Get in contact with your grease trap pumping company and inquire about training your staff regarding proper grease disposal
- Teach all your staff to remove food debris before putting plates into the sink
- Make use of sink covers to catch food debris, so they never reach your grease trap
- Conduct regular inspections on your grease trap components and make necessary replacements
6. Can I get my employees to clean the grease trap?
Again, this is a terrible idea. Unless your employee has undergone some kind of training regarding proper technique in grease trap cleaning, it is best you leave this job to the experts. Hiring a company like Columbus Grease Trap Services ensures that both the procedure used and the disposal of your grease is per local mandates.
Our company is a member of the Preferred Pumper Program or PPP, which is a national organization recognized in the entire country. Being a member of the PPP puts us under obligation to follow the methods approved by the local authorities and never put your business in danger of fines or penalties.
As a PPP company, we can guarantee the highest quality service, and we have the skill to perform grease cleaning and pumping on all kinds of grease traps and interceptors.
7. Does your company sell grease traps?
No. Columbus Grease Trap Pumping is dedicated to the servicing, cleaning, and maintenance of grease traps or grease interceptors. We suggest you ask for advice from your local plumber if you are in the process of installing a grease trap. Always keep in mind that the size and type of trap you fit depends on the local standards.
Once you get a grease trap installed, you can get in touch with us for regular grease trap pumping. We have the reputation of offering fast, efficient, and affordable grease trap pumping services. Since we follow local regulations, you can be at peace knowing your company is in compliance with the EPA.
8. Can the grease from my trap be recycled?
Yes, it can. Many companies in Columbus deal with the collection and recycling of grease from your trap. This grease is also called “brown grease” and can be recycled for use as biodiesel fuel or fertilizer.
However, this oil is not to be used as animal food and cannot be processed in an area where animal food is produced.
If you want to recycle the oil from your trap, you can partner with a company that delivers fresh oil and recycles old oil. However, remember that these companies are only authorized to dispose of grease and are not certified grease pumping companies.
During our scheduled grease trap pumping, our team collects samples from your sludge and lets you know whether the oil can be recycled or not. Often, the brown grease should be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.
9. What size grease trap does my business need?
The size and type of grease trap you install depend on the standards set out by the City of Columbus. Before you go ahead with the installation, it is wise to be familiar with these standards and get the advice of a professional.
Two major factors determine the type and size of a trap you can have for your business. First is the volume of grease you produce. For commercial kitchens that use large amounts of oil, grease interceptors that can hold 1000 gallons or more are required. On the other hand, if you own a small kitchen or don’t use too much grease, a grease trap could suffice.
Another factor is the size of your business. Generally speaking, larger commercial kitchens always have to install a grease interceptor underground. Only small kitchens such as cafés or office cafeterias are allowed to use the smaller grease traps that are installed underneath the sink. Although we don’t do the actual installation, our team will be happy to guide you through the process.
10. How is grease trap cleaning performed?
As we have mentioned, grease trap cleaning is not a DIY job that any restaurant owner can perform. There are strict guidelines set out by the City Code that demand that only a professional, certified company conducts grease trap cleaning.
The reason for such strict guidelines is that grease trap cleaning requires equipment that only a grease trap pumping company has. In addition, the method of extracting grease needs to be in accordance with local guidelines. Even if you don’t do the cleaning yourself, it is good to know the two standard methods used.
The first method is called the dry pump method. First, the grease is removed manually or with a pump, and the tank left to dry. This may take a few days, which means during this period, and you can expect a robust foul odor from your trap. Once the tank is dry, the cover is returned, and your grease trap continues to function.
The second method is the pump and returns process. Professional companies like ours use this method because it does not require drying and does not result in a foul odor. First, the contents of your grease trap are pumped out, and the grease separated from the water. The water is then returned to your trap, and the door closed.
For those who want to try a DIY approach, it is wise to remember that the disposal of grease is your responsibility. You need to comply with all the local regulations regarding disposal.
11. Why does my grease trap have a foul odor?
There are several reasons why your grease trap may have a foul odor even after cleaning. For one, perhaps the dry pumping method was used when cleaning your trap. This problem is usually the case if you work with a company that lacks the experience and equipment to perform grease trap cleaning. If you search for grease trap cleaning near me, Columbus, you can select the best contractors in the City.
Another reason for the foul smell could be a worn-out gasket. The gasket keeps out the odors in your trap, so if it looks corroded or worn, gas can escape and cause the stench. A simple replacement could be all you need to address the issue.
The last reason that is more serious is you may have a back-up along your pipeline. This issue can only be addressed by a plumber, so make sure you contact your local plumber if this happens.
12. What if my grease trap overflows?
Catastrophe in one word. First, you can expect inspectors from the Columbus Health Department to be at your door in no time. The fines or penalties you are issued will depend on several factors, including whether this is your first offense. When samples of fat are taken, the authorities can also penalize you for the concentration of fat found in the samples.
For details regarding the possible fines and penalties for grease trap overflow, contact your grease trap service provider.
13. Will you help me if my trap overflows?
Yes, we are always at your service when you need us the most. We offer emergency grease trap pumping to help you address the issue before it escalates and causes more problems. Give us a call at 614-289-1981. Columbus Grease Trap Service is always ready to fix all your grease trap issues as soon as possible. We will consult with your local plumber if we find a clog in your system.
14. Does your company repair grease traps?
No. But we promote preventive measures that all restaurant owners can follow to identify issues early on and address them. Our company offers the following services:
- Careful monitoring of your grease trap performance during cleaning visits
- Scheduling grease trap inspection ensures that your trap functions at highest capacity and blockage is prevented
- Regular inspection of all grease trap components and recommending replacement of parts when necessary
15. What is the difference between HGI and GGI?
HGI is an acronym that stands for Hydro mechanical Grease Interceptor, while GGI is Gravity Grease Interceptor. The HGI is commonly known as a grease trap and is located underneath your sink. These traps are smaller in capacity and only work for small scale kitchens that don’t use a lot of greases. The size of an HGI unit depends on the amount of water flowing through it, which is usually between 20 and 50 GPM.
GGI units are also called grease interceptors and are ideal for large commercial kitchens that handle high volumes of grease. These units are installed outside the kitchen in an underground compartment. Depending on the size of the interceptor, it can hold between 1000 to 4000 gallons of grease and even more.
16. What kind of maintenance does a grease trap require?
The local City Code has specific requirements regarding the frequency of grease trap pumping. A fixed schedule of pumping and cleaning should be followed by all restaurant owners. Failure to develop such a program is often the cause of back-ups and overflows that wreak havoc on the City sewer system. If grease reaches the sewers, you and the entire neighborhood and City will suffer. Hiring Columbus Grease Trap Service to take care of your grease trap maintenance is the best solution.
17. What schedule is ideal for grease trap pumping?
This depends a lot on the type and capacity of the grease trap you have installed in your kitchen. Commercial kitchens that use the HGI traps may require more frequent pumping perhaps monthly because of the small size of the trap. On the other hand, the larger GGI units can hold considerable amounts of grease, which means pumping can be less frequent. In some cases, GGI units only need cleaning three times a year.
The importance of sticking to the cleaning schedule given to you by the City officials cannot be overemphasized. This schedule is in place to keep you safe from overflows and blockages. When you work with us, we always show up punctually for each cleaning schedule without you having to call us.
18. How much does a preferred pumper charge?
As members of the PPP, we are always required to offer grease trap pumping services at a reasonable price. This reason is why you should still work with a Preferred Pumper. If you own an HGI unit, we usually charge a fixed rate while the charge for GGI units depends on the amount of grease waste per gallon.
These are just a few questions we are often asked, so if you have concerns that are not included in this FAQ, feel free to contact us at 614-289-1981. Our team will be glad to clarify any issues for you.
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