Grease Trap inspections on the rise

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How to deal with grease trap inspections

Grease traps are installed in commercial kitchens to prevent FOG from entering the sewer system. It is very important for the grease traps in your kitchen to be cleaned and maintained regularly so they can effectively filter the oil and grease from wastewater.  Failure to maintain your grease traps can result in overflows and odors in your kitchen. If there is a problem with your grease traps that allows oil and grease to be washed down the drain, your establishment could be given a hefty fine.

The staff in your commercial kitchen should be trained and take all the precautions necessary to prevent grease and oil from being washed down the drain.  This includes properly storing oil in approved holding tanks and wiping grease and oil from dirty dishes before washing them in the sink. You should also have your grease traps cleaned and maintained regularly.

According to the FOG inspectorate, The Greater Dublin Area and larger Cities including Galway, Limerick and Cork will experience a sharp rise in the number of health and safety inspections.  Physical Site Inspections were greatly curtailed during the Pandemic however; the FOG Inspectorate will be calling to premises from July on.

How to prepare for your inspection and what will be inspected

The water temperature needs to be regulated; the water cannot be too hot since hot water will dissolve the oil and grease. A good way to examine if your grease trap is performing at its full function is to carry out a dye test to ensure all the correct fixtures are linked into the grease traps. The capacity of the trap is crucial; the trap should not be too big or too small. There should be a retention capacity of 2lbs of grease for each gallon per minute of water flow. Busier kitchens preparing higher volumes of food may require additional capacity. Flow valves are metal valves needed to control the flow of water into the trap. The trap must be properly vented to allow air to mix to maintain adequate pressure. There should be no cracks on the trap or on the baffles. The trap should be watertight and underground interceptors must be watertight with a secure tight lid. Food waste should not be emptied into the grease trap. The trap must not have any alterations or be used to serve any other purpose. The traps should be cleaned when 25% of the volume is grease and 75% water. Records of cleaning and servicing will be required on inspection.

Be prepared! You may be asked to present…

  • A copy of the sizing calculation for the grease trap
  • A copy of the manufacturers CE accreditation
  • Design details showing volumes, flow rates etc.
  • Dates & times of all maintenance records
  • Waste disposal records from a licensed contractor
  • Copy of a current Trade Effluent FOG Licence


What if the inspector finds a problem

If the inspector finds any problems or guidelines are not being followed a fine will be issued. After receiving a fine, it is essential to meet with the inspector and grease trap vendor to resolve the issue. Some vendors work with the inspector to find a solution and handle the problem in the most effective way. This keeps your sewer system well-protected and ensures that you will be free from being penalized further.