Four Common Grease Trap Problems

Grease traps are an important part of commercial kitchens, removing fats, oil and grease (FOG) from wastewater before it reaches the sewers. Without care, problems can lead to unsanitary conditions and health code violations, and the running of your business may be compromised.

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How Grease Traps Work

Wastewater thrown into the sink goes into the trap and cools. The grease part of the liquid then rises to the surface and hardens. At the same time, heavier solid waste debris sinks to the trap’s bottom. The middle section (wastewater) becomes cleaned and flows into the sewer system.

Here are the main problems that can arise with grease traps.

Blockage in Crossover

Grease traps have two compartments. One helps to separate the liquids and solids, while the other encourages waste to be released into the sewer. If FOG accumulates in the crossover line positioned in between both compartments, clogging can occur.

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Incoming and Outgoing Lines Clogged

In the incoming line, clogs lead to back-ups from the lowest plumbing fixture. The main problem linked to this is seen in the channels (that divert everything to the trap), which become blocked due to the excessive accumulation of FOG and debris.

Outgoing line blockages are relatively easy to see. This sort of clog can be either in the city main or outgoing line.

Grease Trap Overflows

If you don’t pump grease out of the first compartment regularly, the grease trap will overflow. Waste will spill over from the first compartment into the second and the crossover will be clogged – both outgoing and incoming lines.

Dip a pole into the compartment to gauge how deep the grease trap is. If it touches the bottom, you need to immediately pump the grease trap.

Stainless Steel Grease Traps are available from retailers such as

Some good practice tips are to be found here:

Foul Smell
A rotten smell is also a common problem. There are two main issues: firstly, gases in the grease trap can diffuse into your establishment from outdoors when the grease trap’s opening gets degenerated. Resolve this through gasket repair. Secondly, heavy sludge can occupy your kitchen plumbing, necessitating removal with a hydro-jetting machine.

Prevention is better than cure. Pump out and clean the grease trap regularly to avoid repairs and expense.

About the author


Kim Lee lives in Tampa, Florida and focuses on living an intentionally happy life, helping others live better, and having a whole lot of fun. She loves to write, read, enjoy the outdoors, and play with dogs.

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