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No, any food or restaurant establishment that does not have a properly sized and properly maintained gravity grease interceptor is in violation of the sewer use ordinance.
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A grease interceptor is a device connected to your plumbing system, which is specifically designed to remove Fats, Oil, and Grease (FOG) from the wastewater before it can enter the sewer system. It works by slowing the flow of water to allow the FOG to float to the top where it is contained within the baffle system.
There are several types and sizes of gravity grease interceptors ranging from large 1000 to 1500-gallon in-ground units to smaller under-counter units, known as hydromechanical grease interceptors.
The proper pumping and cleaning frequently are dependent upon many variables, such as the type of food preparation, cooking and cleaning methods, the volume of food or meals prepared, and the size of your gravity grease interceptor. Lake County Special Districts recommend that all gravity grease interceptors are inspected frequently and owners use the "25% Rule" where interceptors are pumped out when the combined thickness of the floating FOG and settleable solids layers exceed 25% of the total liquid depth of the interceptor. All gravity grease interceptors should be pumped out at least once every three months.
To effectively remove FOG, a gravity grease interceptor must retain the water long enough for the FOG and settleable solids to separate within the baffle chamber. Lake County Special Districts suggest that gravity grease interceptors are sized to match the number of Drainage Fixture Units (DFUs) of the kitchen or source as follows:
Example #1: Typical fast food kitchen = 17 DFUs = 750 gallon GGIExample #2: Typical larger kitchen = 45 DFUs = 1250 gallon GGI
Please note: For a smaller hydro-mechanical unit, use the Hydro-Mechanical Grease Traps Calculation Sheet (PDF).
FOG in the sewer system builds up on the walls of the sewer lines, accumulates in pump station wet wells, creates odors, and clogs pumping and sensing equipment. When FOG builds up on the walls of the sewer line it reduces the system's capacity and can result in complete blockage. This results in sewer backups and overflows, greatly increased man hours and maintenance costs, equipment downtime, and fines.
Provisions were made in the ordinance to allow facilities with no or low levels of grease to be exempt from the requirements. The facility must provide information and sampling data that substantiate the request. Other facilities could request a variance from the sizing requirements and be allowed to install approved types of smaller interior hydromechanical grease interceptors and grease removal devices.
Absolutely. The ground-up solids that go through the disposal will settle to the bottom of the grease interceptor and take up valuable space. The reduced volume will lower the detention time of the device and will reduce its efficiency. The increased loading will also lead to an increase in needed maintenance frequency.
Special Districts Administration can permit the installation of certain types of interior hydromechanical grease interceptors and grease removal devices instead of the exterior in instances of space limitations. However, smaller interior units require substantially increased maintenance and implementation of best management practices to maintain compliance and effective grease removal. Please contact Lake County Special Districts at 707-263-0119 to be considered for interior hydromechanical grease interceptor approval.
Most plumbers and plumbing contractors install gravity grease interceptors and hydromechanical grease interceptors. All installations must comply with California Plumbing Code Requirements.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the Lake County Special Districts Administration at 707-263-0119.