Grease Traps Stop Sludge From Clogging Sewers
It's a nasty and costly issue that cities like Kennewick have to deal with. Grease. And as each restaurant opens, additional fat, oil and grease threaten sewer lines. KEPR learned how Kennewick is preventing sludge buildup while saving taxpayers a lot of money.
Coffee beans grinding. And the fresh smell of brew in the air. It's what customers at Rockabilly Roast coffee shop are used to. But what these coffee lovers don't see, is the shop's grease trap. You wouldn't think coffee was a factor in sewer backup but on the contrary...
"If we pull a bad shot, we pour them out, the shots are concentrate of coffee which is full of oils and dissolvable solids and a bunch of other stuff," said owner Travis Jordan.
And what about dairy products? Guess how much milk owner Travis Jordan goes through.
"20 to 30 gallons a week. But sometimes we slip up or somebody makes a drink wrong and it comes back so we pour it down the sink," said Travis.
But when grease traps aren't used, sludge, or F.O.G. which stands for fats, oil, and grease, end up here where water is being treated with oxygen so bugs can eat up piles of bacteria.
"Essentially, all of the water that we treat ends up in the Columbia River," said Wastewater Pretreatment Specialist Gina Morgan.
Because of mandatory filters, the last three years have saved Kennewick $75,000 of your money in cleanup costs. The city now spends about a $100,000 a year. But keeping the grease traps clean is the key.
"If you're not cleaning and maintaining them, then they become less effective and we start seeing fat, oil, and grease actually pass through in the city sewer," said Morgan.
Costing Kennewick residents more money to clear the sludge.
"We're all taxpayers to the city of Kennewick so every time that sewer backs up, it costs taxpayers more money to replace the liner and get it flushed out," said Travis.
About 80 percent of Kennewick's food establishments have grease traps. The deadline to comply is March of next year.
The Drain Strainer helps keep food solids out of grease traps so they perform better and need grease trap cleaning less often.