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Do It Yourself Grease Traps

While you may be required to have a grease trap at your place of business, you are not required to hire a company to clean it for you. 

For full disclosure, we want to advise you that this job is dirty and smelly and if done improperly can create havoc for you down the road...and sometimes during business hours.

Dress for the Job

It's important to wear the proper clothing for this job. It is a messy job filled with rancid smelling fumes so you will want to have a change of clothes. Especially if you are headed into the kitchen or dining area afterwards. You may even want to wear disposable clothing. In addition, make sure you have rubber or silicone gloves as well as protective eye wear and breathable mask. You may also want to wear protective head covering. As you are cleaning and pumping out the tank, splatter could occur and you want to avoid contact with your skin, eyes, mouth and hair.

Schedule Pumping for After Hours

The cleaning and pumping of your grease trap is a highly fragrant process. When you open the tank, the smell will permeate the area surrounding the tank and could disrupt your diners and guests. Plan ahead and schedule the pumping for hours when you have minimal staff and no guests. Herring schedules our regular maintenance clients for varying hours depending on the business. Sometimes it is at 11pm and sometimes at 6am. The time you choose will be what is best for your business. 

The Equipment You'll Need for the Job

You'll need tools to remove the grease, clean the tank sides and collect the contents. Here's a full equipment list of the items we recommend for a DIY Grease Trap cleaning out. Keep in mind, Herring uses professional pumps and equipment - the right tool for the right job. However, because you are not a professional grease trap company, we have some alternate tools that will work well enough and save you the thousands of dollars Herring spends purchasing, maintaining and ensuring our commercial-grade equipment.

  1. Scraper (wooden or metal)
  2. Scooper (metal and small enough to fit into the tank opening and move through tank)
  3. Heavy duty plastic bag
  4. Receptical to hold bag
  5. Absorbent material for bottom of bag
  6. ShopVac (to remove water)
  7. 5 gallon bucket (to hold water)

Step By Step Guide to Cleaning Out the Grease Trap Tank

First fill the heavy duty plastic bag with absorbent material. We recommend having the bag in a receptacle so to avoid leaking and unnecessary mess. Then remove the top of the tank, breaking the seal that holds in the "FOG". Next remove baffle and scrape it down into the plastic bag. Set baffle aside on a protected surface. Take your scooper and remove the sludge layer (the FOG) that is sitting on the water layer of the tank. Dispose of this in the plastic bag. Next ShopVac the water out of the tank into the 5 gallon bucket and scrape down the walls of the grease trap, removing the rest of the sludge from it. Scoop all the sludge from the walls (that you just scraped down) and the bottom of the tank and dispose of it in the plastic bag. Be aware of NYS regulations about how much sludge is allowed in the tank. Each state (and possibly local municipality) will regulate how much you can leave in the tank. Even though you may be tempted at this point to give your grease trap a thorough cleaning, avoid hot water or chemicals as they can create additional problems. Now that you have cleaned the grease trap out, it's a good idea to inspect it for cracks, broken elements or parts that should be replaced. Finally, replace the baffle, seal the top closed. It's important that you get a tight seal so that none of the fumes escape during regular tank operation. Gasket should be clean and in good repair. Once the trap is cleaned and put back together, log this cleaning in your grease trap cleaning log so that the inspector can review it, allowing you to avoid potential fines.

If you prefer to leave this job to the professionals, call Herring to talk about what we do to ensure proper maintenance and ongoing performance. 

Reach us at 845-226-5405.

Monday - Friday: 9am to 5pm ET
Saturday: 9am to 3pm ET

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