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Grease Trap Terminology
Grease traps are devices which intercept oils to keep them from going down drains. Fat which is pumped through pipes can easily clog plumbing and sewer lines. For this reason, many dishwashers and sinks are equipped with grease traps that intercept grease as water is pumped through the system. Cleaning grease traps is a part of regular maintenance, and can be done by a cleaning service. Knowing basic terminology can assist in arranging for these cleaning services.
FOGs- Fats, oils, and greases. This is a term used to describe the types of substances caught by grease separators. Many grease traps advertise the percentage of FOGs that are removed by the particular model.
Point of Use Units - These separators are very common, and are designed to fit immediately under a sink. They often are sized by weight of grease that can be held in a unit.
Gravity Interceptor - Very large tanks, designed for use by large restaurants or for various industrial uses. They are often located underground and out of the way. These tanks measure in hundreds or even thousands of gallons.
Grease Recovery Device - Also called automatic grease removal units, these collect grease off the surface through several mechanisms. Unlike many other designs, these grease traps utilize electrical components.
Grease Converters - Interceptors which trap fats and break them down with bacteria. Once the grease has been broken down, the byproducts can be safely disposed of through regular pipes.
Garbage Disposal - Not to be confused with grease traps, garbage disposals break down food scraps. They are still vulnerable to being clogged by grease. Similarly, most grease traps are designed to handle fats, but not food scraps.
Grease traps or grease interceptors are used in restaurants and other commercial kitchens. They are not just used by fast food joints, but also by high end restaurants, high school canteens and even in military barracks.
Grease traps come in two kinds, there are small traps that are used to collect oil and grease from specific appliances. Interceptors catch waste for the entire kitchen, often hundreds of gallons worth, which is then stored in a tank. These traps work by the principle of slowing water flow and allowing the waste, known as FOG, to sink to the bottom. FOG, which stands for fat, oil and grease, then needs to be disposed of. It can be placed in landfills with other solid waste. However, as environmental concerns increase, other methods of disposal are used. For example, the grease may be turned into fuel and diesel. Recovered grease can also be recycled by rendering companies. This reduces environmental damage often caused by grease being put in landfills.
Grease traps need to be cleaned regularly. Small grease traps and separators are often cleaned by employees. Large scale interceptors require professional cleaning. Services may also remove clogs from lines and maintain pumps. Although a grease trap works in part by sedimentation, pumps are important to control water flow. Regulations often require certain standards of separators or traps for various establishments. Needless to say, traps can become blocked, generally by congealed grease. Cleaners may use scoops to remove this grease into drums and then haul it away. Some companies also provide cleaning for sand pits, which in this context means pits that are set under car washes to trap water.