Grease trap regulations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the rest of Louisiana are governed by both state plumbing code and local city ordinances.
Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines or the closing of your restaurant. So, what is a grease trap and what are the grease trap regulations in Louisiana? The regulations in Covington will be our focus.
What is a Grease Trap?
A grease trap is a device that kitchen wastewater flows through before entering a wastewater (sewage) system. This receptacle (aka grease interceptor) “traps” grease to prevent it from clogging the sewer system. How?
Grease is less dense than water and doesn’t mix with it. This results in grease (FOG – fats, oils grease) floating on top of water.
When kitchen wastewater flows through a grease trap, the grease rises to the top inside the trap and is trapped using a system of baffles. The grease fills the trap at the top because it is lighter than the water below. Grease-free wastewater flows out of the bottom of the trap into the wastewater system.
Open a grease trap and you will see a layer of grease. This layer must be vacuumed out from the trap and properly disposed of or recycled. If it is not emptied on a timely basis, FOGs leak into the sewer system causing backups, damage and fines.
If FOGs enter the wastewater system, they can build large clogs, called fatbergs. The city of London spent millions of pounds to remove fatbergs which threatened the health of the city’s waterways.
Grease Trap Regulations in Louisiana-Covington
Covington municipal code governing grease traps requires adherence to the 25% rule. This is a common rule in grease trap regulations in Louisiana.
The 25% rule requires that the depth of oil and grease (floating and settled) in a trap be less than 25 percent of the total operating depth of the trap. The operating depth of a trap is determined by measuring the internal depth from the outlet water elevation to the bottom of the trap.
Grease trap maintenance (cleaning) frequency is determined by:
According the code, “Maintenance of outdoor grease traps shall be performed as frequently as necessary to protect the sanitary sewer system against the accumulation of FOG. Maintenance shall be performed as determined by inspection and application of the 25 Percent Rule, or at intervals specified in the permit, whichever is more frequent. Maintenance shall be performed at least every 90 days.“
The facility owner is responsible for the removal and proper disposal of the grease trap waste. The regulations are very specific about how a to clean a grease trap. All solids, grease and waste material must be completely removed, the walls and baffles of tanks scrubbed clean. The trap must be filled with cold potable water to finish the cleaning.
Grease Trap Recordkeeping
On grease trap records the code states, “manifests from cleaning, inspection records, correspondence and permits must be maintained by the restaurant owner for a period of three years. Records must be kept on-site and are subject to inspection without prior notification. Only a hauler, licensed by the state, can clean your grease traps and properly dispose of the contents.”
Compliance with Grease Trap Regulations
The City of Covington Sanitary Sewer department conducts the inspections and determines compliance. Compliance with the grease control program is evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Implementation of best management practices
- Grease control devices kept in compliance with 25% rule
- Regularly scheduled maintenance of grease control devices
- Documentation of maintenance and required records
- Employee education and training
Compliance with number 1 and 5 are probably the most difficult for a restaurant owner. The best management practices must be developed by the owner and should be displayed for all employees to see. Employee education and training is very important and an often overlooked task for busy owners/managers.
Call them at 985-250-0054 to schedule a used cooking oil pickup and grease trap maintenance visit to stay in compliance with Louisiana and Covington regulations.