Top Five Tips For Managing Your Grease Traps

Grease traps are essential for every restaurant and commercial kitchen, and taking good care of them is crucial for the comfort of your workers and customers. Built with the purpose of stopping fats, oils and grease from entering water and sewer lines, they’re fundamental in helping your business operate in tip-top shape. However, failure to regularly and thoroughly clean your grease traps can create major hassles for any commercial kitchen. To avoid the stress of dealing with a clogged grease trap, be sure to keep the following top five tips in mind.

1. Regularly inspect your grease trap

Since your grease traps prevent fats, oils and grease (FOG) from entering your sewer lines and getting into your septic tanks, they are your most important line of defence. Should FOG be able to enter your systems, it will solidify and cause an obstruction that can result in a sewage back-up. This is very unhygienic and can lead your business to being shut down immediately. Therefore, it is critical to regularly check that your grease traps are functioning correctly. It is much easier and safer to manage regular checks, rather than a nasty blockage of grease in your sewer lines.

2. Have a proper maintenance routine carried out by professionals

To avoid serious issues, it is best to have your grease traps cleaned and maintained by professionals. To keep them in a good working order and to prevent any blockages, we recommend scheduling professional maintenance every 1-2 months. An uncleaned grease trap is also a dangerous fire hazard, as a full grease trap can easily catch fire and spread quickly. Remember that you should always keep a comprehensive record of all cleaning and maintenance and if you’re in doubt or have any concerns, you should always consult an expert.

3. Train your staff to correctly dispose of food

Training your staff on the correct disposal of food can also help your grease traps operate to a high standard. Having your staff remove as much waste and food solids from plates, pans and pots will help ensure that solids aren’t caught up in your grease traps. Keep in mind that the grease trap is only for FOG and not for all food waste.

4. Check that all sinks are connected to the trap

Always check that all the sinks in your restaurants kitchen is connected to the grease trap, including food prep and wash sinks. This will make sure that all the grease is collected correctly and that there is no chance of it seeping into other lines.

5. Never pour chemicals, bleach, additives or drain cleaners down the trap

If you think your grease trap is blocked or that there is something obstructing its operation, do not try to rectify the problem by pouring chemicals down it. This will not solve the problem but rather destroy the traps natural bacteria and will do more harm than good. Instead, you need to get in contact with a professional who can provide the correct advice and expert solutions.

Keeping these top tips in mind, you can ensure the health and safety of your employees and customers. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the cleaning and maintenance of your grease traps, you can contact our expert team here.

The top five reasons your drain is blocked

While a clogged pipe or a blocked drain may seem like a minor issue, it can quickly escalate into a major problem if not dealt with immediately. Leaving a blocked drain can lead to slow water drainage, corrosion, flooding, and in serious cases sewage backup and expensive repairs. Prevention is key when it comes to stopping blocked drains, and prevention starts with recognising what’s causing the issues in the first place. Below are the top five reasons your drain could be blocked.

1. Hair

One of the main culprits for drain blockages is hair, as it can bind with grease and other sticky substances to form large clogs. No matter what kind of hair, it always has a way of gradually building up in your drains. Failure to nip this in the bud can lead to huge problems, as clogged hair will prevent water from passing freely in your pipes. Luckily there are certain tools and devices available on the market that can prevent hair from building up.

2. Food Waste

It is best to note that food waste should never go down the drain. While you may have a garbage disposal in your sink, you are better to set up a composting pile to get rid of your waste, as food scraps can also clog your drains. In particular, you should also be cautious of grease and oils as they can solidify inside your pipes. Absorbing your oils with paper towels and throwing them away in the compost will help keep your drains blockage-free.

3. Toiletries

Toiletries can be a huge problem. Anything from baby wipes, nappies, ear buds and feminine hygiene products can all block your drains. Most of these items become greatly swollen when immersed in water, as they are highly absorbent. Unlike toilet paper, they cannot disintegrate easily when being flushed down the toilet and will therefore get stuck in your pipes.

4. Tree Roots

If you have a small crack or leak in your pipe, it can start to attract tree roots as they search for water. Once they’ve reached the inside of your pipes they can quickly grow larger and will obstruct water flow and can cause pipe damage, resulting in costly repairs. Cleaning tree roots from your pipes needs to be done by a professional as it can be quite a complex process. To prevent blockages from tree roots it is best to keep your trees watered so that they don’t seek out your pipes as a source of moisture.

5. Foreign Objects

Sometimes random items can easily and unintentionally be dropped down the drain. For example, it could be any object or materials like soap or even jewellery. It may often be small children flushing anything they can get their hands on, including toys! Most of the time it can be something odd, but as to be expected, these objects will lead to the problem of a blocked drain.

Being mindful of these top five causes of a blocked drain will help prevent future blockages. If you think you may have a blocked drain or damage to your pipes, you should always contact an expert for professional advice. At Envirovac, we’ll help you inspect your drains using CCTV drain inspection cameras to get a closer look at the problems affecting the insides of your drains. To find out more about how we can help click here.

Tips to keeping your water tank healthy year-round

Rainwater tanks are low maintenance not no maintenance!

If you want to ensure your water supply is fresh and uncontaminated year round then you need to undertake some simple maintenance tasks on your tank.

There are a lot of potential contaminants that can get into your tank water and most of them come from your gutters from leaf litter, dirt, and bird or possum faeces.

Here is a list of what can contaminate your tank water:

Animal or bird faeces entering at the source of the supply. These can carry harmful germs such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli 0157 and viruses. All these germs can cause serious illness.

Bird, possum or other animal droppings on the roof or dead animals and insects in the gutters or tank itself.

Leaves, soil, and other debris entering the tank.

Lead flashing on the roof causing high lead levels in the collected water.

Cracks or holes in partially buried tanks.

To maintain good pH levels in your tank water, it is best to start with keeping your gutters clean and clear. Cleaning out the gutters is a simple way to improve the water quality and the efficiency of the tank.

A study on contaminated water tanks showed that 4 percent of tested households that were contaminated had faecal matter in the gutters, while 31 percent of sites inspected were found to have half or completely full gutters.

So if you want to prevent this leaf litter and dirt ending up in your tank it is worth installing gutter meshing.

Mozzie mesh – check it every 3 months

A rainwater tank is a great place for mosquitoes and other pests to thrive.

Tanks reviewed in a recent study showed 91.1 percent had mosquito meshing, but more than 10 percent were in a condition that would allow pests or vermin into the tank.

Check your water quality – every 6 months

A majority of households use rainwater for the toilet or the washing machine so cleanliness of the water is less important. However, for those properties that use the water for showers, drinking or cooking, checking the water is crucial.

A comprehensive water test will cost on average around $200.

Check your pump– every 6 months

The condition of the pumps and outlets will affect the quality of the water and the efficiency of how the household can access and use the water. A well-maintained system can also protect against long-term damage.

A recent report on tank waters in NZ found that in homes with pumps installed, 5 percent were not functioning and 18 percent of properties inspected were reported to have leaky pipes.

When It’s time to de- sludge – It’s time to call us!

Water contamination can cause serious illness (diarrhoea and vomiting), which can be particularly dangerous for infants, the elderly or people with damaged immune systems.
We recommend that your tanks get sediment removed every two to three years.

healthy water tank

You probably don’t want to be dealing with this water yourself!

So speak to us at Envirovac if your water is starting to smell, look discoloured or there are unexplained tummy bugs in your household.

Contact the team now.