Interceptor Maintenance : Why, when, and how

December 1, 2017 Emily Gamble

Whether you like it or not, your grease interceptor is an integral part of your business. And unfortunately, interceptors are not yet a “set it and forget it” technology. Without regular maintenance, your business could be subject to fines, crippling shut-downs, and brand damaging reports.

But it’s not all bad. In fact, interceptors have never been more environmentally sustainable, user friendly, or cost effective as they are right now. So cost effective in fact, that you may choose to have your unit regularly serviced by licensed professionals. In any case, the following should prove helpful to restaurant owners, pumpers, and haulers alike.

When does this thing require my attention?

Some recommend cleaning as soon as there’s two inches of accumulated grease, others claim every 90 days. But the optimal answer depends on how much grease you’re putting out. So once installed, monitor your interceptor’s accumulation rate. Clean it when it reaches 25% capacity, and the time it took to get there is how often you should perform the following steps.

How do I get back to real work?

1.     If time allows, let a large block of ice melt in a sink connected to your interceptor. The cold will effectively congeal the grease, allowing for easier removal.

2.     Remove interceptor covers and skim the top for debris. All interceptor contents must be stored and disposed of according to local authority.

3.     Snake vacuum to the bottom of the interceptor and vacuum out solids, then any remaining liquid.

4.     Scrape and clean all baffles, inlets, outlets and ports, as well as the sides of the interceptor itself. Rinse with clean water and vacuum again.

5.     Thoroughly inspect baffles, inlets, outlets and ports to ensure everything is in working order. Contact your manufacturer if you have any questions.

6.     Refill with clean water in accordance with the size of your interceptor.

7.     Securely replace all interceptor covers. If any are cracked or damaged, replace before resuming use.

8.     Check surrounding area for spills and soak up accordingly.

A restaurant owner is always responsible for the state of their interceptor, so if you’ve elected to hire a pumper/hauler, always be on site during cleaning to ensure you’re up to code. But regardless of whether you hire out or clean your interceptor yourself, always keep detailed records (most manuals will have templates for doing so). They are your best defense in case an inspector threatens punitive action.

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