Making Sure Your New Grease Trap is Up to Standards
If you own a food service establishment you are most likely already aware that you must have a new grease trap installed. However, knowing you need to have a trap installed and being qualified to install one are not the same things. Much like any other piece of specialized equipment in your commercial kitchen, your grease trap must be installed by a licensed service provider to ensure that it meets the standards required in your area.
Codes & Plumbing Standards
In most areas, grease traps and the standards that guide their installation, usage and maintenance are prescribed in the areas building & environmental codes. Failure to follow all applicable codes can result in heavy fines in some locations. Having an in-depth knowledge of all plumbing and associated codes will be required to determine appropriate units, location, and installation for your new grease trap.
There are many things to consider when installing a new grease trap including the size, location, and design that will be used. In many locations, the size and location of your trap will be determined for you based on local codes and the qualifications set forth by the city building inspector. A grease trap that is not correctly sized will fail to function correctly and will need to be replaced.
Regardless of what type of trap you have installed, you will need to obtain the proper permits before its installation. You will also need to ensure that your unit and its placement follow all applicable guidelines for your area, this may require upgrades to lines leading into and out of the trap, removal of prohibited or restricted features and meeting accessibility standards for maintenance and monitoring.
A grease trap is not a complicated piece of equipment, but installing it correctly requires specialized knowledge. You should never attempt to install your own grease trap. A licensed plumbing professional can help you get the right product installed in the right location, with the right conditions to keep you and your restaurant running. Contact EarthCare online or by phone at 800-428-6166 for more information about installing, maintaining, upgrading or repairing your commercial grease trap.
Baltimore “Fatberg” Causes Major Backup into Nearby Stream
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) are not to be taken lightly. You may think that a little grease here or a wet wipe there won’t hurt your drains, right? Recently in Baltimore, Maryland what has been referred to as a “fatberg” caused 1 million gallons of sewerage to leak into Jones Falls at the end of September. While investigating the leak, Baltimore authorities noted that about 85% of the pipe is blocked.
The overflows have since been redirected to storm drains, but this could have been prevented. Home owners and business owners a like should be wary of not disposing of FOGs down their drains and even though some of those wet wipes boast “flushable” they should still be disposed of in the trash. By following best practices such as installing a strainer on drains and sinks and disposing of grease properly this could have been an avoidable mess.
Taking Care of Septic Sludge Buildup
Water entering the septic tank is full of a myriad of solids and chemicals. Aerobic bacteria in the tank decompose as much of the solids as they can; the rest sink to the bottom forming a thick layer of septic sludge. Sludge buildup in the tank can lead to some serious problems.
The problem with too much sludge.
Septic sludge is normal for any septic tank. The aerobic bacteria aren’t able to decompose every solid waste that enters the system. This leads to layers of sludge on the tank floor. As time progresses, the sludge layer will continue to get deeper and deeper until it eventually overflows.
“If not removed, the sludge will accumulate until it eventually overflows, again clogging the soil absorption area.” ~Septic Online
Septic waste clogging the drain field prevents water from draining into the soil and filtering naturally. With nowhere to go, the water will continue to rise and flood the drainage area.
An ounce of maintenance is always best.
The sludge at the bottom of the tank will remain until pumped out and removed. How often should a tank be pumped to prevent dangerous sludge buildup? There are several ways to determine the frequency of maintenance: measuring the sludge depth with a do-it-yourself tool, estimate the depth based upon the number of people using the system, and ask the professionals. The easiest and most precise way is to have the tank pumped and ask the technician when it will need to be done next.
Keeping the sludge down with added bacteria.
The best way to keep septic sludge under control between cleanings is to use a bacterial additive in the tank. Bacterial additives give the tanks a healthy dose of extra aerobic bacteria that decompose solid wastes. The hard-working bacteria prevent sludge levels from rising too quickly and causing problems.
Contact us for more information about preventing sludge overflow and septic maintenance schedules.
Safe Disposal – Know How To Properly and Legally Dispose of Liquid Waste
Disposing of residential liquid waste safely and legally can be a challenge. Too many people attempt to deal with it themselves and end up contaminating their drinking water or poisoning their plants. If you are on the grid, then your sewer will take care of some – but not all – of your liquid waste. Here are some septic regulations to consider:
1. Never pour anything down storm sewers. Storm sewers are designed solely to carry away rainwater to prevent flooding. Nothing that goes down a storm sewer is treated for pollutants.
2. Never pour flammable liquid down the sink, toilet or drain. Believe it or not, this can cause a fire when the flammable liquid mingles with gases produced by solid sewer waste – including if you use a septic tank. You should always dispose of flammable liquid waste such as lubricants or paints by having it picked up by a disposal or recycling service. (Also, avoid using flammable liquids as much as possible).
3. Never pour oil (cooking or motor) or grease down the sink. It can block your plumbing – instead, it should be soaked up using paper towels or similar and put in the trash. Also, it will collect in your septic tank and make it need cleaning more often.
4. If you have a septic tank, then your liquid waste is separated from sludge and oil and ends up in a drain field. There should be no puddles of water in the drain field – if there are, call a professional.
If you have wastewater collected on your site, you should never try to dispose of it yourself. The temptation to leave it be or direct it into a storm drain is high. Instead, call a professional such as EarthCare to help you dispose of your liquid waste properly, safely, and legally by following septic regulations.
Avoid Winter Septic Disasters – Inspect Your Septic Tank now.
If you have a septic tank, then you know bad things can happen if it doesn’t get cared for properly. The EPA recommends that you have your septic system professionally inspected at least every three years, or every year if you have electrical float systems or pumps. You may also need to get your tank pumped. The frequency depends on your household size and how much waste you produce and can range from every year to every five years. It can also be influenced by climate – the further north you are, the more often your tank needs to be pumped.
You should get your tank inspected and any preventive maintenance done in the fall. Why? Because the last time you want to experience a septic tank emergency is in the middle of the winter when your tank is buried under 2-3 feet of snow and the ground is frozen. By checking your tank in the fall, you reduce the risk of winter septic disasters.
While you can inspect your septic tank yourself, this is not always the best idea. A professional will have a better idea of what might be going wrong, especially if your tank has complicated mechanical parts. What you should do yourself is keep an eye – or more often a nose – on your tank. Water backups and any kind of odor are an indication something is going on with your septic tank. A professional will also have the equipment needed to do a full inspection, including going into the septic tank to do an internal inspection (a task which requires breathing gear).
The inspector will check your tank for leaks, make sure it is not waterlogged, and check the condition of the tank after it has been pumped. A full professional inspection is necessary to make sure your septic tank is functioning at full capacity.
Earthcare offers residential and commercial septic tank pumping and inspection services. Contact us for more information about how we can help you avoid winter septic disasters, extend the life of your septic system, and ensure your safety.
My Grease Trap Needs Cleaning, Says the Law. How Often?
When you envisioned your business and all that it would bring to the world, you probably didn’t visualize your grease trap. It’s not the sexiest part of your business, but it’s a necessary component to keeping your establishment clean and running smoothly. And because your grease trap works hard, it needs cleaning. Regular cleaning not only prevents awful odors, damage, health hazards and rodents – it’s a public health requirement in most communities. Each community has its own standards and it’s important to know what they are. For example, if you are a restaurant owner in Ohio, you are likely required to clean at the 25% mark. Other places, such as Worcester County, MA, require cleaning at least monthly.
But is that enough? What does “the 25% mark” mean and how do you know if you’ve reached it? Local regulations will give guidelines as to how often your grease trap should be serviced, but it is your actual usage that will ultimately determine your trap cleaning needs. EarthCare can help you find out.
Not only will our highly trained technicians clean your grease interceptor, they will perform a thorough 14-point inspection with every cleaning and can help you determine your grease trap maintenance requirements. At EarthCare, our mission includes building long-term trust and satisfaction with our customers. Our technicians will take time to educate you about your grease trap so that you can save money and avoid emergencies. This will allow you to have a grease trap that performs better and lasts longer. Cleaning your grease trap has to be done. Why not choose a company with the highest standards? EarthCare team members are graduates of Wind River University – a proprietary program designed to extensively educate our team so that you get the very best in education, safety, quality, and customer service.
Maintenance is key to a successful business. Contact EarthCare to make the chore of cleaning your grease trap easier, while empowering you to keep things running clean and smooth.
Terralift: How to Save Your Leach Field
If you have ever lived with a septic tank you know that, at times, they can be problematic. More often than not, the problem is a clogged drain field. Correcting that problem using traditional means can be expensive. It can also cause considerable disruption to your yard. There is, however, an alternative to digging up sewer lines, the horizontal expansion of drain fields, replacing your septic tank, having to hook up to the city sewer system, or some of the other recommendations that may be made. That alternative is a process called Terralift.
Terralifting has been used successfully around the country for over two decades now. The process depends on a specialized machine that uses a long, narrow probe with an integral pneumatic hammer. The Terralift that penetrates three to six foot deep vertical holes up and down each side of your drain pipes and throughout your drain field as is needed. Air is forced into the holes so that the surrounding soil is fractured and aerated. The holes and the surrounding fractures are filled with polystyrene beads so that they don’t collapse inward and so your drain field can be aerated.
The Terralift process rejuvenates exhausted leach fields easier, quicker, and more economically than any other method. The entire process can be completed in one day and, just as much of a relief, your lawn is left intact. There is no need for replacing the lawn or landscaping! Terralifting actually improves your soil because it replaces an anaerobic environment with an aerobic one. There is an option as well during the process to actually pump good bacteria into the holes and fractures, bacteria that will continue to work to keep your leach field aerated. Please contact us if you have any questions about the Teralifting or any other septic tank needs.
Drain Cleaning and the Threat Hair Poses to Your Drains and Your Septic System
We’ve all experienced the need to clear a wad of wet hair (yuk!) from the bathtub or shower drain, and most of us know that if too much hair makes its way down the drain, we’re gonna have to get out the plunger or resort to a caustic drain cleaner to get things flowing freely again. But there’s actually more to the hair clogs/drains/septic systems puzzle than just clearing a slow-moving drain.
The Problem With Chemical Drain Cleaners
Most plumbers will tell you they’d rather you didn’t use those caustic — albeit well-known — drain cleaners that you find on the shelves of your local supermarket. Not only are they not all that effective (especially on hair clogs), but repeated use can do a lot of damage to your pipes — not to mention the plumber’s drain cleaning tools! Even worse, if you have a septic tank, these chemicals can damage its bacterial environment and cause expensive problems.
Why Hair is a Such a Problem
Hair is tough stuff. Under the right conditions, it can last in the environment for several years! It’s composed of tough strands of proteins similar to those in your fingernails, and it’s not easily broken down by bacteria. Even if it doesn’t for years in your septic tank, it’ll almost certainly last for longer than the 24-48 hours that it sits in your septic tank. If your septic tank has a filter in the outlet baffle, the hair will become trapped there and be cleaned out the next time you have your tank cleaned (if you’ve got a really thorough septic cleaning company, that is!). However, if there is no filter, the hair will travel throughout the septic system clogging pipes or making its way to the leach field.
A Better Alternative
Luckily, there is an alternative to those caustic drain cleaners that along with hair, can wreak havoc on your septic system, leading to costly repairs or even total replacement. The best way to deal with hair clogs is with preventive maintenance. If you’ve got a clog already, the best solution is jetting or snaking. EarthCare’s septic system pros can do this and more. (We can also install a filter in your tank if you don’t currently have one.) But wait, there’s more! We also have a bacterial additive called CCLS to keep your system working the way it should. One quart every other month is usually all that’s needed, and our technicians can also “boost your system“ to further break down waste.
If you live or own a business in the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) contact us for all of your septic system needs! We’re here for you 24/7, 365 days a year!
Drain Cleaning: The Problem with Grease
Hot pans of oil frying up deliciousness are heard in commercial kitchens across the country. After the last hungry patron leaves, it’s time to clean the kitchen. Cleaning up is simple. Wash the dishes and put away the supplies, but what to do with the leftover grease? Pouring it down the drain is a disaster waiting to happen.
Hot grease poured down the drain begins to cool and solidify in the pipes. Even liquid fats, such as olive oil and peanut oil, pose a serious risk of clogging the drain. The biggest problem is when discarded grease reaches the sewage pipes. It mixes with other chemicals on its way to the water treatment plant. Chemical reactions between the fatty acids and calcium form a “soap” like globs. Rising sewer levels cause these globs to stick to the ceiling and form “fatbergs“. Unfortunately, improper grease disposal is a common occurrence. Nearly 36,000 sewer overflows a year result from grease blockages.
Solving the problem of sewage overflow is best done with prevention. Installing a grease trap is the best way to prevent damage from improper grease disposal. Grease traps collect the fat that floats on the water surface when poured down the drain. The tank drains from the bottom and leaves the grease in the reservoir. It’s important to have grease traps regularly maintained with a professional drain cleaning. During drain cleaning maintenance, professionals empty the trap of solidified fat and inspect for damages and warning signs.
Contact us for more information about grease trap maintenance and cleaning out clogged pipes.
Cure-in-Place Pipelining Explained
Cracked and crushed pipes are not a laughing matter. Crumbling water, sewer, or gas pipes require immediate attention. For major repairs, the pipe is dug out and replaced, but normal and minimal pipeline repairs benefit from cure-in-place pipelining (CIPP).
The process of installing cure-in-place is relatively simple. Removing the failing pipe from service so that no water or sewage passes through it is the first step. Once the inside is clean and void of debris, the liner is winched into place and inflated. Curing the liner requires hot water or steam and time. The last step is cutting the ends of the liner making them flush with the pipe and sealing it.
The lining material is a resin saturated polyester that hardens and forms a resilient pipe inside the failing pipe. The CIPP material is rigid and very durable once cured.
“The CIPP liner is made of a non-woven polyester needle felt or glass fibre…” ~UKSTT
The benefits of cure-in-place pipelining extend from quick installation to corrosion prevention. CIPP is an efficient pipe repair technique. Here are five benefits of CIPP:
- Jointless installation accommodates pipes of various shapes and sizes.
- Corrosion proof lining protects pipes from crumbling.
- Fast single day installation makes CIPP repairs convenient.
- Traffic is not disrupted by large trench digging machinery.
- Quick installation and minimal equipment make it cost-effective.
Choosing to repair a pipe with a rigid liner is a smart decision. Resin saturated liners add corrosion protection and support to water, sewer, and gas pipes. Learn more about our pipelining services or Contact us for more information on cure-in-place pipelining and repairs.