Jacksonville GREASE TRAP SERVICES
FAQ: Grease Trap Services in Jacksonville
Here are some of the most common questions restaurant owners in Jacksonville, Florida, ask us about grease trap pumping and interceptor cleaning services.
1. What is a grease trap?
A grease trap is just what its name implies – a device that traps grease. Trapping grease before it reaches the city sewer system is a significant step to maintain the integrity of the sewers. Grease traps come in various types and sizes depending on the amount of grease produced and the size of your restaurant. Small capacity traps can be installed underneath the sink in your commercial kitchen, while larger interceptors are installed underground outside your kitchen. There are specific guidelines that all business owners must follow when it comes to installing grease traps. The Health Officials in Jacksonville, FL, are diligent in ensuring that local food establishments follow all the guidelines set by the EPA. This ensures that no blockages, leaks, or back-ups occur, which can jeopardize the whole neighborhood.
2. How does a grease trap work?
Grease traps were invented to address the issue of excess grease waste that is produced by food establishments. One of the famous foods Jacksonville is known for, is the delicious Southern Fried Chicken that tourists line up to taste. Restaurants that offer a list of fried dishes on their menu also make a lot of greasy waste. A grease trap is necessary to trap all this waste before it can reach the city sewer system. Grease traps are often located underneath the kitchen sink of small kitchens, while larger kitchens have their interceptors underground. Whichever type of grease trap you have installed, they all provide the valuable service of preventing overflows and backups, and even lower the risk of fires in your kitchen. Local officials carry out regular inspections to ensure that your traps are functioning correctly.
3. Do I need a grease trap?
No doubt, you do. First of all, you won’t be able to start any food-related business without having a grease trap installed. The local City Code dictates that every food establishment, no matter how small, has a grease trap in their kitchen. This is because grease traps prevent fires and keep the sewer systems safe from dangerous fat, oil & grease (FOG) build up. Once you get a grease trap installed, you can contact a licensed company like Jacksonville Grease Trap Pumping to do regular maintenance, which is also required by the local authorities. We have been in this business for a long time so you can be sure that you are working with the best.
4. Can I throw grease directly into the grease trap?
No, you shouldn’t. Grease traps are designed to handle your grease as it enters through your piping system, not all at once. By throwing grease directly into the trap, you can overload it, and when this happens, some oil may end up reaching the sewers. Grease traps only work correctly when they are used as designed, so never throw oil directly into your trap.
5. Can I do grease trap cleaning myself?
Although this decision is up to you, doing something like this yourself can potentially be disastrous for your business. It is a good idea to have this important part of your kitchen maintained by a professional, so you can focus your time and energy on what you do best. We have handled many jobs where clients have tried the DIY approach and ended up making a mess and calling the professionals in the end. Grease trap cleaning requires proper equipment and a specific set of skills that our team has. Taking the cleanup into your own hands may seem like a cheaper option, but it may end up costing more.
The local City Code also requires that grease trap cleaning and pumping is performed by a certified, approved company like ours. So if you do the cleaning yourself, you are violating the guidelines of the local officials and are at risk of receiving a fine. The reason why only professionals are licensed to do grease trap cleaning is because there are specific standards that we are trained to follow, so we can safely and effectively get the job done.
Even though it is recommended to have a professional complete the regular maintenance, there are some important steps you can take to keep your trap functioning well. For example:
- Contact us, or your grease trap pumping company and inquire about training programs on a grease disposal
- Make it a practice to remove food debris before washing the dishes
- Use sink covers to catch any food debris before they reach the grease trap
- Regularly inspect your grease trap and all its components and replace worn out parts when needed.
6. Can I hire my employee to clean the grease trap?
As we have mentioned, grease trap cleaning is not a job that can or should be done by just anyone. So, unless your employee has some form of training regarding proper grease trap servicing, we highly advise against it. Hiring a professional company like Jacksonville Grease Trap Services is the only way to ensure that your grease is disposed of in the right manner.
Our company is a proud member of the PPP, or Preferred Pumper Program, which is a national organization that establishes the standards of cleaning grease traps. The criteria followed ensures proper and effective maintenance of your grease trap, which extends the life of the equipment. As a PPP member, we ensure compliance of local sewer use ordinances, so your business will never face fines or penalties.
PPP companies are trained to provide high-quality service at an affordable cost. We have the skills, equipment and experience to do grease trap cleaning and pumping on all models of grease traps and interceptors.
7. Do you sell grease traps?
No. Jacksonville Grease Trap Pumping only focuses on the maintenance of your grease trap. This involves regular inspection, pumping, and thorough cleaning. For information where you
can purchase a grease trap, we suggest you seek advice from your local plumber. Remember, that you need to get a trap that is acceptable by the Local Code for your type and size of business.
After you purchase and install a grease trap, our team will be happy to work with you regularly and take care of your grease trap pumping needs. Our services are efficient, fast, and affordable, and we always tailor our methods to your specific situation.
8. Can the oil from my grease trap be recycled?
Yes, you can decide to recycle the oil from your grease trap. This used oil is also called “brown grease” and is often used as biodiesel or fertilizer. However, according to local ordinances, brown grease cannot be used as animal food and should not be processed in an area where any animal food is produced.
Many restaurant owners who want to recycle their used oil choose to partner with a company that delivers fresh oil and collects the used oil. It is good to remember, however, that these companies are not PPP members and are not licensed to perform the pumping of grease from your trap. They can only dispose of grease.
If you desire to have your brown grease recycled, we can collect a sample of the sludge from your trap and let you know if it is recyclable. In most cases, the brown grease is best disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
9. What size grease trap should I install?
The size of the grease trap you need to install is far more than a personal choice. The City of Jacksonville has fixed standards regarding which size and type of grease trap every business must have. For this reason, we suggest you consult one of our professionals to help you determine which category your business falls under.
One of the factors that you ought to consider is the volume of grease you produce. Whether you are a small café or a big commercial restaurant, if you have a number of fried dishes that require a lot of oil, you probably need a bigger capacity grease trap. Grease interceptors can hold 750 gallons or more and are an excellent choice in this case. However, if you are a small kitchen or don’t use a high amount of oil in your cooking, a lower capacity trap could be enough.
The second factor authorities consider the size of your business. In general, large commercial kitchens are required to install grease interceptors underground. Smaller kitchens like those of cafes or office cafeterias may install the small grease traps underneath the sink.
Jacksonville Grease Trap Pumping does not perform actual installations of grease traps, but we’ll be happy to provide expert advice for your situation.
10. How are grease traps cleaned?
As we have emphasized, grease trap cleaning is not a job for you or your employee and should be done by a professional company. This is following the City Code that requires these services to be performed by a licensed, certified company.
There are good reasons why such strict guidelines are in place. For one, grease trap cleaning requires the use of specialized equipment that only a licensed company owns. Second, the techniques used for grease trap cleaning have to comply with the guidelines of the local health department.
Even if you aren’t doing the grease trap cleaning on your own, we feel it is wise to be educated about the methods used by companies. This will help you identify whether a company is reliable or whether they are taking short cuts.
- The Dry Pump Method. With this method the grease is removed manually or with a pump, and then the trap is left to dry. The drying process takes a couple of days, which means you will need to pause your use of the sink until it dries. When the tank drains, the cover is returned and your grease trap can continue to function.
- The Pump and Return Method. This is the process our company uses to prevent the issue of foul odor. The process begins with the complete removal of the contents of your grease trap through pumping. Then, the grease is separated from the water and disposed of in an eco-friendly manner. Finally, the water is returned to your grease trap, and the cover sealed.
If you are thinking of attempting a DIY method for grease trap cleaning, remember that you will need to deal with the disposal of grease and comply with local ordinances regarding grease disposal.
11. Why does my grease trap have a foul odor after cleaning?
One of the leading causes of this problem is using the dry pumping method. If you tried a DIY approach and used this method, you can expect your trap to have a foul smell while it dries. Also, if you hired a cheap grease trap cleaning company, they likely used this method because they lack proper equipment. To prevent this issue in the future, search for grease trap cleaning near me, Jacksonville, and carefully select a professional contractor.
Another cause for lousy odor could be a worn-out or corroded gasket. The gasket is an essential part of the grease trap that seals it and prevents foul odors from escaping. If your gasket is damaged, the odors from your trap could reach your kitchen. Replacing your gasket should fix the problem.
The final possible cause for a foul odor is a pipeline back-up. This can be caused by food debris that has reached your trap and caused a blockage. You may need the help of a plumber to remedy this problem.
12. What happens if my grease trap overflows?
If your grease trap overflows, you are in a lot of trouble. The Jacksonville Health Officials will likely fine or penalize you for this problem, and there is no telling how hefty these fines may be. If this is your first offense, you may be shown some leniency but still will need to pay for your negligence. If the samples taken from your grease show a high concentration of FOG, (fat, oil, grease) the penalties you receive could increase drastically.
If you want more information regarding the fines for grease trap overflows, get in contact with your grease trap service provider.
13. Can you help with grease floods?
Yes. Our company offers emergency grease trap pumping in cases like this. Once you give us a call at 904-295-1661, our team will prioritize your business. Jacksonville Grease Trap Services will help you deal with the overflow and make sure this doesn’t happen to you again. If there is a clog in your system, we will gladly work with your local plumber to quickly address the issue.
14. Can you repair grease traps?
Jacksonville Grease Trap Services dos not offer grease trap repair. We focus on maintaining your grease traps, so they continue to work correctly and last as long as possible. Our services are preventive and include:
- Inspection of your grease trap and all its components, and recommendation of replacement of parts when necessary
- Scheduled grease trap maintenance and pumping to ensure your trap continues to function at optimum capacity
- Detailed monitoring of your grease trap performance
15. What type of maintenance does my grease trap need?
This depends on the regulations set out by the City of Jacksonville. These regulations include details about the frequency of pumping and cleaning to be followed by your business. Maintaining such a schedule of regular cleaning ensures that your business is not the cause of disastrous overflows or back-ups in the sewer system. If this happens, the entire City suffers, and you can expect hefty fines from the authorities. Partnering with Jacksonville Grease Trap Services guarantees that your business is in full compliance with City Code.
16. What is an HGI and GGI unit?
HGI stands for Hydromechanical Grease Interceptor, while GGI means Gravity Grease Interceptor. HGI’s or grease traps are often located underneath your sink and can only handle a small amount of grease. For this reason, they are usually installed in small scale kitchens or in kitchens that don’t use large amounts of fat. The HGI unit can vary in size depending on the amount of water flowing through it, which is approximately 20 to 50 GPM, or gallons per minute.
GGI units are also called grease interceptors and are required for large commercial kitchens that use large amounts of grease daily. These units are installed in interconnecting chambers underground close to your kitchen. They can hold anywhere from 750 to 4000 gallons of oil.
17. How much will it cost to hire a PPP?
All PPP members are obliged to offer reasonable grease trap pumping services. This is why when you choose to work with a Preferred Pumper; you are guaranteed high-quality services at the best possible price. For restaurants that use HGI units, we often charge a fixed rate while GGI units are priced according to the amount of grease per gallon.
18. What schedule should I maintain for grease trap pumping?
There is no fixed answer, and a lot depends on the type of grease trap you have in your commercial kitchen. Commercial kitchens that have installed smaller HGI units or grease traps may require more frequent pumping due to the low capacity of these units. However, grease interceptors are large and may only need pumping one to three times annually.
The local officials will provide you with a specific schedule to follow in terms of pumping. You must follow this schedule carefully to stay safe from overflows and blockages. Give us a call, and we’ll work with your schedule and show up on time.
If you have additional questions that are not found in this FAQ, please give us a call at 904-295-1661. We will be happy to provide more information.
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