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Recycling Old Grease

If you own a restaurant, you’re probably familiar with the large amount of grease associated with cooking at scale. But did you know that old grease found in your grease traps can be recycled? Here’s what you need to know.

How Grease Traps Capture Waste

To start out, it’s helpful to consider how grease traps capture waste in the first place. Grease traps are small metal boxes located inside of food-producing businesses. They help remove greases and solids from wastewater before it enters the sewersystem. 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 happening.

Liquids from sinks flow into the traps, and solids that are more dense than water drop to the bottom while greases float to the top. The remaining water, which is mostly grease free, is then put into the sewer system. Businesses service grease traps on a monthly basis. Health code regulations specify cleaning schedules and procedures.

The Recycling Process

So where does recycling come in? When a business like Moon comes to your establishment to clean your grease trap, we end up taking away lots of used FOGs so you can have a clean grease trap. We can thoroughly pump out, clean and dispose of all grease, wastewater, and solid material from your grease trap system by suctioning it out with a hose system. Also, we suction into a holding tank on a truck.

We then take the grease, in a liquid form at this point, to a treatment facility. This facility sorts out the FOGs from the water even further. They put brown grease so it is ready for recycling. Some recycling methods re-purpose the grease to be used as a fertilizer in farm fields. Other times, the FOGs can be purified to the point that they are made into usable fuel. In all cases, your wastewater is transformed into something useful.

How Moon Can Help

Professionals like Moon can thoroughly clean and monitor your grease trap system. Plus, we can help keep track of your maintenance schedule and adherence to regulations.

This has several benefits. For one, properly functioning systems prevent a negative environmental impact from sewage overflow. Plus, it saves time and money by preventing a backed up system that can shut down business. We 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.

History of the Grease Trap

Grease traps play a key role in properly capturing and disposing of grease in food-related establishments today. Both grease traps and grease interceptors are a standard and required feature in many businesses. How did this come to be such a staple of modern life? Today on the blog, we’re taking a look at the history of the grease trap. 

History of the Grease Trap: 19th Century

As long as there have been sewage systems, there has been a need to deal with the fats, oils, and greases (FOG)  humans have put into them. FOG can be a major issue on sewage systems, causing backups that severely damage a community’s ability to properly manage waste and wastewater. The first official patent for a grease trap system was filed in the late 19th century by Nathaniel Whiting, an American inventor. This first design has the same core elements we see in modern day grease traps. An interceptor box is connected to the source of FOG (a kitchen sink, for example) and removes unwanted material before wastewater is put into the sewage system. The box holds the FOG for later removal. 

History of the Grease Trap: 20th Century and Today

While that core design is still at the root of grease traps today, there are several improvements that have been made over time. For example, in the 1930’s a gravity grease trap was developed, which used more water than previously to slow the flow through the grease trap. This allowed for a greater removal of FOG from kitchen wastewater. 

Since then, some other common types of grease trap have emerged. The modern hydro-mechanical grease trap is one such innovation. It utilizes heat, water, and gravity within a steel or carbon trap to more efficiently remove and store FOG. Another modern innovation is the automatic grease trap. This leverages electrical and mechanical features to remove a high percentage of FOG.  

Scheduling Grease Trap Servicing

If you own an establishment with a grease trap or interceptor, quality servicing is important for your business. 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. It’s important to regularly schedule cleaning. 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.

Moon can help keep track of your maintenance schedule and adherence to regulations. This is important- for any business that prepares food, it is mandatory by law to have a grease trap installed and cleaned regularly. As a Kentucky Restaurant Association Member, Moon stays up to date with regulations and follows best practices.

No service request is too big or too small for Moon Grease Trap Cleaning. We provide quality service in a prompt manner. Schedule your next grease service by contacting Moon at 502-453-0154. Or, visit our website for a quote! We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have. 

 

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.