The City of Clinton, Iowa is implementing a proactive approach to reduce grease build-up at their water treatment plant.
As part of their 2018 budget, a part-time fats, oils and grease inspector has been deployed to check on food establishments regarding the maintenance of grease interceptors or grease traps. Their Water Quality Superintendent reported 40 percent of the inspected sites did not have grease traps.
The Clinton City Council passed an ordinance that requires commercial kitchens to have a fully operational grease interceptor by June 30, 2020. The city will offer a 50 percent rebate up to $1,500. City leaders hope this will encourage restaurants to use this best practice.
This amendment to the Clinton code of ordinances now mandates a trap for grease and food solids and it permits the publicly owned treatment plant to perform annual inspections of this equipment for a $40 fee. Hands-on mitigation will be worked through at these facilities when needed.
If a violation is present, the commercial kitchen will be subject to frequent inspections until the situation is remedied in full, not exceeding once every four weeks. The food establishment is subject to $40 inspection fees each time.
Some restaurant owners believe the handouts are unnecessary. These grease traps are just part of the business, they argue.
Wastewater from sinks and dishwashers enter a reservoir holding food solids, as well as fats, oils, and grease. The grease components, being lighter than water, float to the top while the food waste sinks to the bottom of the chamber. The wastewater is pushed through the grease trap into the sanitary sewer, leaving behind the sludge that settles to the bottom.
The grease interceptors keep the food residue out of the reclamation facility, which costs the City to remove and dispose of the grease. The majority of the issues involving grease at the Regional Wastewater Reclamation facility include grease detection in the collection system as well as grease-clogged pipes and sewer lines.
Restaurants in Clinton that have and properly maintain grease traps say regular cleaning from a third-party is essential to the overall function. If you never clean it out, at some point, it will clog up and the drains will back up into your business.
Some restaurants in Clinton have been using grease traps since the mid-1970s. They say it’s the cost of doing business and just part of the program. It can sometimes be a hardship, but overall it isn’t the end of the world. As long as people get it done, that is the most important thing.
If you want to keep food solids from clogging your grease interceptor as part of your grease trap sizing and installation, consider installing The Drain Strainer. Our food solids separator captures food solids in our strainer drawer while still allowing your sinks to drain quickly. Invented by a former restaurant owner, The Drain Strainer is an effective and affordable commercial garbage disposal alternative.