Grease traps help remove residual grease from water flowing down from restaurant drains. While the primary method of preventing grease clogs should be to remove all grease from plates and pans before washing them, the traps serve as a secondary method that removes those little bits of grease that workers might have missed. The traps are heavily regulated and need to be kept in good condition lest the restaurant be fined. Regular cleanings and inspections help, and you can also look for signs that the trap might need early service.
The lid on the trap has a gasket that helps seal in fumes and prevent leaks. If you begin to smell a greasy odor from the trap, that could be a sign that the gasket needs to be replaced. Like other gaskets, the material that this one is made of can become brittle with age and crack, allowing fumes to escape. While this seems like a simple repair, the fact that the whole trap is regulated by law means that you need to call a professional to do the work to ensure it is done according to the latest city or county codes.
Clogged Drains/Overflowing Trap
Any backup of water in your sinks will be due to a clog somewhere. If you can't find a clog in the drain or pipes leading away, check the grease trap. It could be clogged itself or even overflowing. Have the trap emptied -- again, call a professional service and don't attempt to empty it yourself -- and check the drains and sinks again. If you still have issues, then you may need to call a plumber. But don't assume that the problem is hidden solely in the water pipes until you know that the grease trap is functioning correctly.
Food Down the Drain
If you find that an employee has really messed up and has been putting food down the drain, get the trap serviced. The trap should stop food from traveling further into the drain, but that food can also clog the trap and interfere with grease separation. Worse, the food can rot and develop mold, which create additional odors and health problems. Plus, that trapped food can attract pests, which is not what a restaurant ever needs.
Grease traps sometimes have problems; they happen, and all you can do is call for service as quickly as possible. Once the trap has been cleared (and repaired, if needed), your restaurant can continue to function well. Contact a company, like Mountain Valley Pumping, for more help.