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What to Consider When Purchasing Grease Traps for Your Commercial Kitchen

A grease trap in a busy commercial kitchen works wonders daily—even hourly—when it comes to preventing globs of fat, rancid oils and thick greases from entering the municipal sewer system and causing a host of disruptive blockages.

Local ordinances stipulate that food establishments utilize a grease trap and perform grease trap cleaning on a regular basis. If you are opening a new commercial kitchen or want to upgrade your existing grease trap, you’ll want to purchase the correct grease trap for your establishment’s needs.

Grease traps vary in cost, ranging from approximately $218 for a 20-pound grease trap to nearly $3000 for a 150 pound trap. You have to sift through the options of hydromechanical grease traps, automatic ones and gravity type traps. Important considerations also include the trap’s capacity, location and space limitations.

Select the optimal grease trap by following a few tips of the food business trade:

Capacity & Sizing

A kitchen constantly cooking up a storm is likely to bring in a continual stream of customers. While this is good for business, it also means you will need a large-capacity grease trap to handle the huge quantity of grease discharge.

Sizing is critical, as a grease trap smaller than what is practical will require more frequent cleanings and may even be out of compliance with local ordinances. A trap too large for your needs is a financial waste.

Consider that a deli serving primarily soups and salads will require a far smaller-capacity grease trap than a fast food joint producing French fries and burgers like clockwork throughout the day.

Compliance with Laws

The Universal Plumbing Code requires that grease traps must have no less than a capacity of 20 gallons per minute or 55 gallons per minute.

Plus, each state enforces codes that regulate commercial kitchen grease traps. Local ordinances provide detailed specifications. In New Jersey, for instance, a restaurant or institutional cafeteria must feature a grease trap no less than 750 gallons. In South Carolina, Spartanburg Water specifies that outdoor traps must have a 1000 gallon minimum with a 2000 gallon maximum. (Multiple traps may be accepted if the establishment requires a larger trap capacity.)

Not only should your grease trap abide by local and state regulations, but the trap should legally meet federal standards. Restauranteurs face civil penalties—up to $2000 per day of noncompliance—if their grease trap is noncompliant with local laws.


Just like your food business makes room for an adequate sink and suitable fry station, your establishment should have the space to maintain a grease trap. Grease traps may be located indoors, such as just beneath the sink or flooring, or on the establishment’s premises outdoors.

Indoor grease traps are ideal when space limitations are present, such as restaurants built in densely populated cities. Small traps located inside usually have easy access but may require more frequent cleanings. An outdoor grease trap may feature a manhole cover and is often located in close proximity to the facility’s kitchen area.

Type of Trap

Grease traps come in a handful of types:

Passive hydromechanical grease traps are small in size and the least costly; but due to the diminutive size, the traps require frequent cleanings to stay in compliance.

Municipalities require that gravity grease traps be pumped out when they meet the one-quarter rule (when the fats, oils and greases occupy ¼ of the tank capacity). Often consisting of concrete, gravity traps may feature steel, plastic or fiberglass material. Gravity grease traps require replacement every 15 years, as these below-ground structures can degrade and fail.

Kitchen staff can easily maintain an automatic grease trap. Designed for placement under the sink or in an indoor corner of the kitchen, automatic grease traps are pricier upfront. However, maintenance costs are reduced when kitchen employees are permitted to handle grease pumping tasks.

More commercial kitchens are utilizing high capacity hydromechanical grease traps, especially if the buildings have no space for a gravity grease trap. Taking up minimal space, hydromechanical grease traps feature plastic or fiberglass material.

Replacement Parts

When you narrow down the grease trap choices, consider whether replacement parts are readily available in the event the trap requires repair. Like any operational unit, a grease trap can fail at times. Over time, metal and concrete can fall into degradation. Upon shifting a fiberglass grease trap, cracks can ensue. Fortunately, lightweight plastic is durable and makes for an efficient grease trap. Plus, grease traps may require some parts be replaced on a set schedule.


While you are busy responding to customers and producing quality eats, the last thing on your mind is cleaning the grease trap. However, most states require grease traps to be cleaned at least once every quarter or 90 days. So, an easy to maintain grease trap becomes essential.

Smaller grease traps can be cleaned by kitchen staff and the fats, oils and greases can be dumped into the trash. Larger establishments may wish to hire a professional grease trap cleaning company to pump out the grease from expansive grease traps. The professional grease trap cleaner will arrive with a truck and use professional equipment to pump out the grease. All the waste is properly disposed of in a landfill according to local regulations. Some companies even transport the greases to a renewable diesel plant where the waste is recycled.

No matter what type of commercial grease trap you purchase, the trap will require regular maintenance. When your grease trap must be cleaned, turn to the professionals at Mahoney Environmental. As a reliable restaurant grease trap cleaning service, Mahoney Environmental technicians carefully follow all local laws regarding disposal. We also offer repair services for broken grease trap parts.

Equipped with the necessary tools of the trade, Mahoney Environmental is prepared to respond to your commercial kitchen’s grease trap cleaning needs promptly and professionally. Grease trap cleaning costs vary based on the size of the grease trap. Contact the specialists at Mahoney Environmental and receive a free quote for any grease trap cleaning service.

Other Articles You May Find Interesting:
Keep the Grease in Your Commercial Kitchen Under Control with These Tips
Complete Guide for Cleaning Grease Traps in Commercial Kitchens
Restaurant Grease Trap Cleaning FAQs
Understanding Your Grease Trap
Difference Between Grease Traps and Grease Interceptors

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