Southwaste employee wearing sunglasses
  • What is a grease trap?


    The original concept for a grease trap was patented in the early 1800s by Nathaniel Whiting in California, and grease traps haven’t changed much since! A grease trap is a unit that separates fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from water. A device called a baffle stores the FOG to keep it from entering into the drainage line and sewer systems.

  • What size grease trap does my business need?


    You may ask, “Is a bigger grease trap better?” Surprisingly, that answer is not always yes. Installing the proper size grease trap, however, is critical due to oversizing, which can result in the deterioration of your plumbing, interceptor, and drainage system.
    We strongly urge you to contact your local regulatory agency and verify the appropriate size needed for your location and ensure that all guidelines are met before ordering a grease trap.

  • What do I do with my used cooking oil?


    We encourage you to keep all used cooking oil in a specific container. As used cooking oil is a sellable product; pouring it down the drain means not only losing the money you could make from it but also spending more money when that oil coats your drain line and clogs it. While Southwaste ultimately works with grease trap waste, we can help you locate a company to dispose of your cooking oil properly. Call us today!

  • Can I check my lift station myself?


    This is never recommended!  In our experience, most customers who opt to check lift stations themselves end up paying more in the long run. Resolving lift station problems typically requires specialized equipment and comprehensive knowledge of how lift stations work. The skills required to fix and maintain a lift station can only be acquired through time and experience.

    Some common malfunctions in lift stations include control issues(bad floats or bad relays), clogged pumps/lines and/or broken check valves. You may have multiple problems going on all at once and not even know where to start. 

    Most companies don’t have personnel with the technical knowledge even to check if the lift station is working properly. This is a very narrow area of expertise that we have.

    Even when our customers find someone on staff qualified to monitor their lift stations, turnover does happen, resulting in emergencies, overflows, and large repair bills. Short term, you may save some money, but you will likely pay much more in the long run if you don’t hire experts to check your lift station. 

  • What is the purpose of having a grease trap?


    FOG is approximately 80% lighter than water. Once the water cools, the grease floats to the top and the heavier solids remain at the bottom. This allows only water to exit the grease trap and flow into the city sewer lines.

  • How Often Should I Hydro Jet My Lines?


    An experienced account manager with Southwaste can best answer this question based on the following criteria:


    • Type of food served
    • Use of reusable or disposable
      plates and serveware
    • Volume of customers
    • Collections
    • Kitchen waste management practices


    Generally, we recommend hydro jetting both incoming and outgoing grease trap lines (sometimes called the trunk lines) twice a year. Hydro jetting of the incoming and outgoing lines can be augmented annually with service to the inside lines (or branch lines).

grease trap cleaning and pumping
  • What preventative maintenance is needed to maintain flow?


    Proper grease trap maintenance is vital to maintain its efficiency. First, check with your city of active authority. Many have specific ordinances, giving you your necessary pumping requirements and other vital information. Violating these ordinances could result in fines from the city or other active authorities. Additionally, maintenance prevents problems such as foul odors, backup, line blockages, and overflow from being deposited into sewer lines, which is a finable offense.

  • What can I do to prevent an overflow in my kitchen?


    • Reduce what is put down the drain/ sink.
    • Remove all food debris from dishes before washing.
    • Collect waste cooking oil (yellow grease) and
      fats for separate disposal. DO NOT pour any down the drain/ sink.
    • Have your grease trap pumped regularly.
    • Periodically check the baffle to ensure
      it is in good condition and has not detached.
    • Use biodegradable detergents and
      minimize the use of chlorine-based cleaning products.

    Also, here is an article about preventing odors in your kitchen

  • Where can I purchase a grease trap?


    Southwaste can procure and install your grease trap. Call us or fill out our form for a free estimate.

  • Can I Perform Repairs on My Grease Trap Myself?


    No, grease trap repair can be hazardous without the right equipment and safety knowledge. Our trap repair technicians are trained in confined space entry procedures by an OSHA approved instructor. We have the equipment to constantly monitor gasses during a confined space entry as well as equipment to deliver fresh air into a confined space.
    Whether you use Southwaste or not for your trap repair, please ensure that the vendor you use has the technicians and equipment to perform a confined space entry. There have recently been fatalities from technicians entering traps without the proper training or equipment. Safety is of paramount importance when working inside of a grease trap.

  • Why Do Grease Traps Deteriorate and What Happens When They Do?


    Grease trap deterioration does not happen overnight. It starts when microorganisms in your kitchen waste breed inside of the grease trap and digest the grease and food waste. This process causes the contents to turn acidic (lowering the pH). The longer you wait between cleanings, the more acidic the waste becomes. This acid environment erodes the concrete and metal that comprise the grease trap.
    At first, the surface of the concrete erodes until you can visibly see the rebar that supports the concrete. When this happens, you can see a grid through the concrete surface. Eventually, the concrete erodes to the point that rebar is exposed. The structural integrity of the walls and floor of the grease trap are compromised as the acid dissolves the metal rebar.
    Eventually, a wall can collapse, which both makes the trap less effective and can lead to a collapse of the trap itself. You might find that a sinkhole suddenly develops in your parking lot or drive-thru where your trap is located, risking the safety of your customers and employees.

  • Why can’t I just use the garbage disposal to get rid of my waste?


    Never use a garbage disposal in place of a grease trap. The truth is that using your garbage disposal actually increases drain line clogs due to the “coleslaw” consistency of the waste it generates. If you are unable to completely eliminate garbage disposal use, we recommend that you minimize its use as much as possible.

  • Why do I need to keep my manifests in one place?


    We highly recommend keeping a central file to store all of your grease trap cleaning manifests. If an enforcement officer visits your location, they will ask for your manifests. If you don’t have them available, the enforcement officer will start to ask more questions and begin to think that you haven’t had your grease trap pumped. The enforcement officer may investigate your location more for other violations as you search for your manifests.

    Southwaste leaves the “generator copy” at the store location when a service is complete. This is the copy that should be filed on-site for any inspector to review. The second or “generator final copy” is sent to the home office along with the invoice. This second copy can be filed at the home office. For added convenience, we also maintain all records electronically.

Give us a call today.

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