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Kitchen Pests: Maintaining Your Grease Traps

Grease traps are a crucial element of any commercial kitchen or business that serves food. Unfortunately, improperly maintained grease traps can attract all sorts of nasty pests if you aren’t careful. Not to fear! Here are our top tips for avoiding pests in your commercial kitchen.

FOG Build-up Attracts Kitchen Pests

First, you should know why this is so important. When you do not properly keep a grease trap maintained, FOGs can build up and lead to several issues like clogged pipes, damage, and inefficient draining (learn more about FOGs from our previous blog on the topic). Additionally, it can attract pests to your establishment. Pests love to feed off of organic matter like FOG. This can be both unsightly and unsanitary- bugs and mice can carry disease around the food you serve customers. Plus, FOG build-up tends to produce a distinctly stinky smell. This is pretty noticeable too, and is a huge issue both for pest control and customer satisfaction.

Look Out for Drain Flies

One common pest you may find in your kitchen is the drain fly. These tiny flies often congregate around drains or other areas that harbor food waste or grease. They like standing water and leftover organic matter- they lay eggs in these areas, and their larvae feed upon the organic matter. Even if a drain appears clean from the outside, the pipes below may be caked with a layer of grease. To prevent this from happening and attracting drain flies, always be careful about what goes down drains. Do not put solids down your drains. Also, you should make sure your grease traps are maintained properly to help reduce the amount of FOGS that make it into your pipes. You can also pour hot water down drains on a weekly basis to help break down any buildup.

Clean Grease Traps Are The Answer

A clean grease trap means fewer pests, less risk of disease spread, more passed inspections, and better business. Professionals like Moon Grease Trap Cleaning can get you on a schedule for grease trap cleaning. You’ll meet all necessary regulations and you’ll have access to an expert who can help get to the root cause of any pest issues. Our technicians remove all FOGs from your traps and interceptors, clean your systems, and properly dispose of FOGs. You’ll also be less likely to have untimely and expensive system failures like sewer backups. Plus, we service grease traps and interceptors of all capacities. So, your business will benefit from our work whether you have a small establishment or an enormous one.

All of this means your business will be able to run smoothly, avoid costly problems, and focus more on what matters: the food and service you provide to your customers.

Are you ready for pest problems to be a thing of the past? Look no further! Moon is the one-stop shop for your grease trap needs. Schedule your next grease service by contacting Moon Grease Trap Cleaning at 502-453-0154. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have!

FOG guidelines in Louisville, Kentucky

Fats, oil, and grease (FOG) can clog up the sewer system like nothing else. We’ve talked about FOG generally in our blog posts previously, but not in terms of locality-specific guidance. Today, we are going to take a look at FOG guidelines in Louisville, Kentucky. Hopefully, looking at the city’s rules will help you see how FOG principles play out in context.

FOG guidelines in Louisville

The Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is a regional non-profit agency that monitors and maintains the wastewater treatment system in the metropolitan area. MSD has a significant amount of guidance and sets of rules related to FOG disposal. Food service establishments (FSEs) have to be in compliance with FOG management guidelines.

The guidelines are substantial, so we won’t do a line-by-line analysis in this blog post. However, there are a few important highlights that you should be aware of. Here are some of the main points:

Food establishments are classified by size

Depending on the type of establishment you run, MSD assigned a different FSE class. There are 5 classes: for a sense of scale, Class 1 FSEs have the lowest output of FOGs and require 25 gallon/minute or 50 pound grease traps, and Class 5 FSEs have the highest output and require 2,000 gallon grease interceptors (or an equivalent capacity with multiple units). An example of a Class 1 FSE would be an ice cream or coffee shop. A Class 5 FSE might be a hospital or prison. The main takeaway here is that FSE class dictates what sort of FOG removal system you need in place.

There are several important prohibitions

Using an up to code grease trap or interceptor is a necessary first step for FSEs. However, there are a few things that you can’t do while using these units. For one, you can’t continuously run hot water through units. You also can’t allow concentrated detergents, alkaline solutions, or acidic solutions run through grease traps and interceptors. In addition, FSEs are not allowed to use additives for grease management. Additives are any products that contain solvents, acids, bacteria, enzymes, emulsifiers, and other similar ingredients. They have the potential to contribute to FOG buildup and interference with MSD systems. This is especially problematic if you use them right before liquids go into grease traps or interceptors.

There are a few exceptions here. You can use additives to clean drain lines, but only in amounts and ways such that FOGs won’t be put into the sewer system or that FOGs will be temporarily broken down and allowed to pass through grease traps and interceptors. Additionally, 100% bacteria additives are allowed to be used, but you need to get MSD approval first. Always check with MSD before using any additives you think may be allowable.

FSEs must use certified plumbers/haulers to manage FOG

Grease traps and interceptors require specific cleaning. MSD requires FSEs to have certified plumbers/haulers perform cleaning and removal procedures. Certified plumbers/haulers go through MSD-led training to stay up to date with procedures. These professionals are the people you should work closely with for your regular trap and interceptor maintenance and certification. MSD requires documentation of all cleanings and inspections too. Working with these professionals ensures that you will be up to code and have all of the paperwork you need in an organized fashion.

Schedule your next grease service by contacting Moon Grease Trap Cleaning at 502-453-0154! We have certified experts who will make sure your FSE is up to code. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have!

 

What is FOG?

FOG, or Fats, Oils, and Grease, refers to byproducts that are created during food preparation, cooking, dish cleaning, and grease cleaning. It has the potential to enter wastewater and clog up the sewer system. Let’s take a look at the science behind FOG and why it’s so important to prevent build-up.

What is FOG?

As mentioned above, FOG (Fats, Oil, and Grease) is a byproduct of cooking. Many types of food and food byproducts combine to form this byproduct in the cooking process, including meats, fish, nuts, dairy products, soups, and more. FOG is sometimes referred to as brown grease. Basically, it’s the greasy gunk that is left over after you are done cooking.

FOG is made up of fatty acids and glycerol. One example of a part of a FOG compound is triglycerides. Triglycerides are found in vegetable oils and animal fats. They can be either solid or liquid at room temperature, and are less dense than water, so they float in water. At a chemical level, this chemical compound is comprised of three fatty acids and one molecule of glycerol.

Settings where FOG can be an issue

Any setting where cooking happens can lead to a high amount of FOG. We might first think of restaurants when we think of FOG. Restaurants do create a lot of it in the process of producing their products. But, there are plenty of other sources too, like hospitals, community centers, bakeries, hotels, and more. These FOG-producing entities are collectively referred to as Food Service Establishments (FSE). As a collective, FSE are very significant contributors of FOG to sewer systems.

How it affects the sewer system

If FOG is not properly removed from wastewater, its presence can wreak havoc in sewer systems. Elements of it end up clogging sewer pipes through a series of complex chemical reactions when it enters the sewer system. Basically, it breaks down and reforms to combine with other chemicals present in sewers, leading to a buildup of soap-like compounds. These blockages reduce the flow of wastewater in sewers, and if left unaddressed can completely block outflows. This means sewers can overflow and plumbing can be blocked in commercial and residential settings.

Preventing blockages

The best way to prevent these blockages from becoming issues is to prevent FOG from entering sewer systems in the first place. This is where grease traps and grease interceptors come in handy at FSE. Grease traps and interceptors are systems that help remove FOG from wastewater before that water enters the sewer system. Check out our blog post on how these two systems work in more detail.

Grease traps and interceptors are crucial for public sewer systems, and as such there are a number of rules and regulations on their use for FSE. But, the specific regulations can vary by state and locality. Working with an experienced business like Moon Grease Trap Cleaning is a great way to stay up to date on regulations and maintain clean and safe grease traps and grease interceptors.

Schedule your next grease service by contacting Moon Grease Trap Cleaning at 502-453-0154. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

Used Grease and Cooking Oils

Grease and used cooking oil: if you own a restaurant, you probably produce plenty of these as a byproduct of cooking. You may already know that grease traps are an important way to filter these out from your wastewater. But did you know that the used grease and oils they collect are actually quite useful and sought after? Let’s take a deeper dive into used restaurant grease and oils. 

Uses for Grease and Oils 

There are around 4.4 billion pounds of used cooking oil generated by the food service industry each year in North America alone. Up until the 1990’s, these byproducts were primarily used in the rendering industry. Cleaned and processed oils are useful for everything from animal feed to paint and plastics, and people in the industry pursued these uses for years. But in the 1990’s, another use emerged: biofuel. When properly cleaned and filtered, used oils and greases can be converted into valuable fuel. The rendering industry began to use the oil in mass for biofuels, with significant positive effects. For one, reusing old oils and grease is cheaper than relying on new fuel. Plus, the low carbon biofuel is just as effective as diesel fuel, but with up to 85% fewer carbon emissions.

With a clear benefit to reusing these oils, an industry continued to develop. There have actually been government mandates for refineries that require a certain amount of biofuel to be added to petroleum fuels too. These factors and others have led to a high value on used restaurant oils and grease. 

The Rise of the Grease Thief

With soaring value came an opportunity for unsavory thievery. More and more people with an eye for the rising market value began to steal used restaurant grease. They found plenty of opportunity, with lots of businesses storing their byproducts in traps or interceptors outside their buildings. When unsecured, this makes for an easy target and payday on this new liquid gold. 

Of course, selling requires a buyer. Unfortunately, there seem to be plenty of people willing to look the other way on the source of used oils and grease. While many biofuel companies perform their due diligence to vet potential sellers, some have not worked hard enough to help weed out illegitimate sales. Companies have faced some pressure to start examining sources more rigorously. 

What This Means for Restaurants

Fortunately, there’s a lot restaurants can do to help prevent this theft. Monitoring trap and interceptor levels between servicing is an important way to tell if there has been any theft. Plus, they can even install fences and other security measures to obscure access and ensure protection. They can also move their infrastructure to indoor traps to add a lot of security. 

Don’t forget- just as security is crucial, so is a regular maintenance schedule! Moon Grease Traps offers servicing for grease interceptors and traps at any establishment. From a single grease trap, to one per sink in larger establishments, to an outdoor interceptor, we have you covered. Schedule your next grease service by contacting Moon Grease Trap Cleaning at 502-453-0154. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have!

An overhead view of a man cleaning a grease trap

Grease Traps vs. Grease Interceptors

Grease traps and grease interceptors are grease collection systems that many establishments use. There are a few key things that differentiate the two systems. Here’s a look at some key similarities and differences.

Grease traps

Grease traps are typically small metal boxes located inside of the business they are used for. They help remove greases and solids from wastewater before it enters the wastewater disposal system. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that are commonly disposed of in food-producing businesses can build up in wastewater treatment facilities and septic tanks. When unaddressed, this can overwhelm infrastructure and lead to the release of untreated sewage. These oils can also cool and solidify, combining with other solids in the waste system to block pipes. Grease traps help prevent all of this from the getgo by removing FOG before they enter the system. 

Since grease traps are small, several are often used in larger establishments, one per sink. Liquids from sinks flow into the traps, and solids that are more dense than water drop to the bottom while greases (less dense than water) float to the top. The remaining water, which is mostly grease free, is then piped into the waste system. Businesses typically service grease traps on a monthly basis. Health code regulations specify cleaning schedules and procedures. 

Grease interceptors

Grease interceptors perform the same function as grease traps. However, they are much larger, with a single interceptor serving an entire establishment. Given the size of the interceptors, they are often located outside of a business and accessed through a maintenance hole cover. 

The function and mechanics of grease interceptors are similar to those of grease traps. Dirty water from a business flows into a large container that separates out solids and grease. Interceptors do this with a series of retention reservoirs and baffles (walls). They then pipe cleaned water into the waste system. Given their large size, grease interceptors are usually cleaned once every two or three months. 

Cleaning Grease Traps and Interceptors

Both the floating FOGs and the solids at the bottom of the grease traps and interceptors must be regularly disposed of. Professionals like Moon Grease Trap Cleaning can thoroughly pump out, clean and dispose of all grease, wastewater, and solid material from your grease trap system. Plus, they can help keep track of your maintenance schedule and adherence to regulations. 

It’s important to regularly schedule cleaning for both types systems. For one, properly functioning systems prevent a negative environmental impact from sewage overflow or blockage. Plus, it can save time and money by preventing a backed up system that can shut down business. Professionals can also make recommendations about cleaning commercial kitchens to mitigate the impact of FOGs on your grease trap or interceptor system and the environment. 

Schedule your next grease service by contacting Moon Grease Trap Cleaning at 502-453-0154. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

Grease Trap Cleaning with ProVac

5 Helpful Tips To Keep Your Commercial Kitchen Clean

Looking to keep your commercial kitchen clean?

 

As a restaurant owner, you know that your establishment is judged by the quality of your service and food. Unsanitary conditions in food prep and cooking areas can prove to be hazardous not just for your customers but employees too. Surfaces, equipment, and areas that have been poorly cleaned can quickly become the perfect environment for foodborne pathogens, bacteria, and mold to breed very rapidly. That can result in dwindling customers and revenue, accidents, injuries, illnesses as well as a loss of productivity. This is why it’s essential to keep your commercial kitchen as clean as possible.

 

Commercial kitchens can be chaotic, and at the end of the day, it can seem impossible to clean thoroughly. Most staff members that work in commercial kitchens find cleaning these spaces a daunting task. Some may even end up cutting corners in their work. When tasks are either improperly done or overlooked, it can result in problems down the road. If you are struggling to know what steps to follow to keep your commercial kitchen thoroughly clean, here are some useful tips:

 

Tip #1: Train Your Team To Clean

If you opt to keep the cleaning tasks in-house rather than hiring commercial cleaners, it is important to have a checklist and appropriate training so that your team members know how to clean. While most have likely had experience cleaning a household kitchen, keeping a commercial kitchen clean is a much bigger job. Following a proven process is advisable so that every aspect of the job gets done consistently and in a timely manner. This includes a detailed list of tasks that keep your kitchen sanitized and hygienic at all times. A clean kitchen is a reflection of the professionalism of your business and its focus on excellence.

 

Tip #2 Clean Out All The Trash Every Day

Trash can build up pretty quickly in commercial kitchens. There are a lot of food scraps, green waste, and packaging that get discarded into the bins during the food prep process as well as leftovers from the dining areas. It doesn’t take long for the bins to overflow, and the trash needs to be cleaned out regularly in the right manner, or it will send out a wrong message to your customers. Make sure certain staff members are given the job of cleaning the trash can with regularity. It is equally important to have the cans adequately cleaned and dried before replacing the bags. That will help to get rid of any foul smell that arises from the garbage.

 

Tip #3: Dust & Mop All Areas Promptly and Properly

If you do not have carpeted floors in your restaurant, it’s crucial that you dust and mop all areas properly. Make sure that someone sweeps the floors regularly as that will remove all the dust and debris. After that, a good mopping will help ensure that all the floor surfaces are thoroughly clean. You can use a mix of water and soap during mopping. The floor will have to be mopped again to ensure that there is no soapy residue. You can add a disinfectant in the final mopping stage.

 

Tip #4: Clean Cooking Equipment Regularly

The simplest way to maintain the cleanliness of your kitchen equipment is to clean all spills when they occur. However, in busy kitchens with lots of orders and the hustle and bustle, this might not always be possible. In these situations, you’d have to use commercial-grade cleaners and non-abrasive pads to clean all the equipment at the end of each day. Make sure you use organic cleaners for cleaning all equipment surfaces as well as counter tops. This will help ensure that no toxic substances are lingering in your kitchen.

 

Tip #5: Clean Out Your Commercial Refrigeration Units

Establish a checklist for cleaning a commercial refrigeration unit. This may include tasks like emptying shelves, wiping and disinfecting shelving units, disposing of any expired or moldy foods, and vacuuming components.

 

Tip #6: Make Sure To Clean Out Your Grease Traps

Commercial kitchens have grease traps or grease interceptors to catch as much grease and waste as possible before going down the disposal. These systems need to be cleaned out on a regular scheduled basis. The frequency of grease trap cleaning in part depends on the volume of food your kitchen produces and also the types of foods. Many commercial kitchens need grease trap cleaning on a monthly basis. While this is something that can be done in house, hiring a grease trap cleaning service is typically easier. The contents of the grease traps need to be handled and disposed of according to specific regulations, which may be more difficult to deal with in house.

 

Companies like Moon Grease Trap Cleaning are here to help you with this component of your clean kitchen. For more details, call 502-453-0135.