As a restaurant owner or manager, you know just how much grease is produced in your kitchen. There's greasy leftover sauces, remnants of salad dressings, and of course, grease from fryers and frying pans. No matter how hard you try, some of these grease and fat products are going to end up down your drain when you wash pans and dishes. If you're not careful, they could end up clogging your sewer lines, leading to dangerous and costly backups. To prevent grease from clogging your restaurant's sewer pipes, follow these tips.
Dispose of fats and oils in a separate waste container.
Designate a separate waste container for leftover fats and grease. Place it in a back corner of the kitchen (or even outside the door), and label it. When you bring in new kitchen employees, make sure you show them where the grease container is early on in their training. Emphasize that any fryer grease, leftover cooking fat, and fatty sauces must be emptied into this bin rather than down the drain.
When it comes to cooking fats, make sure your employees know to let them cool to room temperature before scraping or pouring them into the grease waste container. This will prevent damage to the container. Most waste disposal companies will come pick up kitchen grease; you may have to pay a small extra fee for this service, but it's well worth the expensive plumbing bill you'll avoid.
Wipe plates and pans before washing them.
Some remnants of greasy sauces and butter are going to end up going down the drain. However, you can greatly decrease the amount that ends up down the drain by training your dishwashers to scrape or wipe the plates and pans before putting them in the dishwasher. Provide them with rubber spatulas and a trash can where they can scrape off any food and lingering liquids, rather than just dumping off the loose food as is common.
Use a de-greasing washing detergent.
When choosing a washing detergent for your dishwasher, make sure you choose one that is specifically designed to break up grease. Many restaurant owners assume that this is just to get plates cleaner, but really, it's better for your pipes, too. These cleaners break apart the grease molecules, making them less likely to stick to the insides of the pipes.
Make sure there's a grease trap.
A grease trap is a device that is installed between your kitchen plumbing and the building's larger sewer pipes. Basically, it traps any grease that comes down the drain before the waste water makes its way into the larger pipes. Many municipalities require restaurants to have grease traps, but there are cases where restaurants have been grandfathered in and do not have them.
If you are not absolutely certain that your restaurant has a grease trap, either look up the building's plumbing plans to check whether one is present, or call a plumber to have them check for a trap. If you do not have a grease trap, installing one will do more than get your building up to code—it will prevent costly blockages and maybe even a lawsuit with the town if you were to contribute to a clog in the public sewers.
Have your grease trap and sewer lines checked over annually.
Grease traps need to be emptied periodically. Depending on the size of your trap and how much grease your restaurant actually generates, you may need to do this once a year or more often. You should also have a sewer cleaning service look over your pipes once a year just to make sure nothing is making it through the trap and putting you at risk of a clog.
With the tips above, you can keep your restaurant's pipes flowing freely in spite of all the grease your establishment generates. Learn more about avoiding clogs, contact companies like Tierra Environmental & Industrial Services.