Food establishments can expect all kinds of inspections to assess that health and safety, fire safety, food safety standards and waste management are all being adhered to. Proper grease management is a part of these inspections; when improper grease management is performed, your business will be in deep trouble.
Grease traps for commercial kitchens effectively help filter the FOGs (Fats, Oils, and Grease) a kitchen produces and stops them from being washed down the drain and entering the sewer system, which can have detrimental effects on the environment.
The importance of maintaining your grease trap speaks for itself, not only to keep harmful substances from entering wastewater systems but to also ensure when that inspection comes around, you pass with flying colours and you don’t miss out on profits.
In this blog, we’re here to help prepare you for your grease trap inspection and explain exactly what to expect.
How Does a Grease Trap Work?
There are two types of grease traps – above ground and below ground – and they more or less operate in the same manner. When kitchen wastewater that contains FOGs enters a grease trap, a system of baffles in the trap helps the lower-density FOGs rise to the top, separating them from the water. The clean water exists the grease trap and the grease and other contaminants are left in the trap.
Without these innovative devices, the FOGs will enter wastewater systems and cause damage to pipes by clogging and blocking them, as well as contaminate water treatment systems, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. These issues would eventually lead to a public health crisis and negatively affect the environment and aquatic life. This is why it is a legal requirement in the UK for businesses that produce grease to own a grease trap.
How to Prepare for a Grease Trap Inspection
Most inspections come with a notice period which will give you time to properly prepare your grease trap, however, there may be an occasion when the inspection is a surprise. Ensuring a well-maintained grease trap is key to staying ahead of the curve if a non-scheduled inspection occurs. Aqua Mundus provides comprehensive grease management solutions that help you efficiently maintain your grease trap.
But what can you do on a day-to-day basis and organise before the inspector arrives to guarantee you will pass?
Clean Your Grease Trap
If you own a manual grease trap, you will have to clean it daily and perform a deep clean every one to three months. Keeping a cleaning schedule and ensuring your staff are properly trained on how to not only clean but operate your grease trap, will help reduce any major issues from occurring. We have a helpful guide on the best ways to maintain and clean your grease trap for everything you need.
Check Your Water Temperature
While hot water is a must in hot food establishments, the water temperature must be regulated. If your water is too hot it will not only dissolve the FOGs but also damage the seals and interior parts of the grease trap. Also, certain grease traps use bacterial additives that help break down the fats, oils and grease. Extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, can kill or hinder these bacteria, rendering them ineffective. It’s important to keep cold water below 20°C and hot water stored at 60°C.
Check Your Trap’s Capacity
Restaurants often expand when business increases, meaning more FOGs will be produced. Checking your grease trap’s capacity will ensure it keeps up with the amount of contaminants you produce, as if the inspector finds your grease trap has insufficient capacity compared to your production of FOGs, you could face a hefty fine. If your grease trap is too large, then hydrogen sulphide gas can develop into hydrochloric acid which will damage piping and concrete structures in the wastewater system. Getting a free grease trap site survey by experts will guarantee you have the proper system installed that will eliminate these issues.
Check for Damage and Ensure Everything is Connected
Spotting damage early will give you time to carry out repairs before the inspector arrives. Common damage that occurs includes cracks in the trap walls that cause leaks, as well as your flow restrictor malfunctioning if the grease trap gets too full. The best way to check to see if all parts are connected is to carry out a dye test. A biodegradable dye will enter your sinks and floor drain to see that all fixtures in your kitchen are connected to your grease trap. If some fixtures aren't connected to the grease trap, it is important to take action before your inspection takes place.
What Will the Inspector Look For?
The first thing an inspector will probably ask to see is your records of grease trap cleaning and maintenance. It is a legal requirement to keep records of grease trap maintenance, so make sure you have up-to-date records all in order and on hand.
The inspector is primarily looking to ensure the grease trap is functioning properly, is in good condition and complies with local regulations and standards. Some of the main things they will check for include:
Grease Accumulation: They will check for how much grease has accumulated and if it’s within permissible range.
Solids Accumulation: Solids can also accumulate at the bottom of the trap, and too much solid waste can stop the trap functioning properly.
Components: The baffles, inlet and outlet, seals and other parts will all be checked over for damage to ensure they’re in working condition.
Cleanliness: Excessive build-up will cause odours and hinder the performance. The inspector will assess this along with the maintenance and cleaning records.
Water Flow: The water flow will be assessed to see if it runs smoothly, without any blockages.
Size and Capacity: The inspector will ensure that the grease trap’s size is appropriate for your establishment.
Ventilation: Without proper ventilation, gaseous odours can’t escape which increases health and safety risks.
Compliance with Local Regulations: The inspector will verify that your grease trap meets all necessary regulations.
Aqua Mundus Can Guarantee Your Grease Trap is Ready for Inspection
There is no need to panic or worry about a grease trap inspection. Aqua Mundus is here to give you peace of mind that you will be ready for the day of inspection. Our tailored services include pre-planned maintenance to prevent any major issues from arising, and if any fixes are required, we can supply you with grease trap spares and repair all manner of issues. Get in touch with the team today to guarantee a smooth inspection day for your grease trap.