The Tip Out: Make Peace With Grease!

By NYC Department of Environmental Protection

March 17, 2014

As you likely know, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has jurisdiction regarding the sizing, installation and maintenance of grease interceptors (aka grease traps).

New York City’s restaurants, hotels, cafes, clubs and other establishments that prepare and/or serve food must have compliant grease interceptors.  These devices are installed in waste lines that can receive grease & oils from fixtures such as pot wash sinks, food scrap sinks, meat and/or poultry prep areas, etc.  They prevent grease and oil discharges from clogging sewer lines, which could lead to sewage backups in your basement or ground floor.   (See below for a video on grease interceptors.)

A NYC licensed master plumber (LMP) must install and can properly size your grease interceptor(s). The configuration of your kitchen and the number and type of fixtures/devices you have will determine the proper sizing of this equipment.  Sizing requirements can be found at this link, which also has DEP’s grease regulations:  If your grease interceptors are not properly sized, you may have to replace them, which could cost several thousand dollars in plumbing and other fees.  You should also review the sizing of your grease interceptors with your licensed NYS architect or engineer and/or your NYC LMP when you are designing a new establishment.

Frequent maintenance and cleaning of your grease interceptor(s) is also key to its optimal functioning.   Unless you have an automatic self-cleaning device, you should clean the interceptor on a regular basis by removing the waste collected under the top cover, as well as any solids on the bottom of the interceptor.  The waste from the interceptor should be discarded in a secure trash bag(s), or picked up by a licensed NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC) waste hauler.  If your grease interceptor is not kept clean, it will not effectively contain the grease/oils and sewer backups may occur.  You should also ask your equipment supplier for information on its proper upkeep.

Used Vegetable Cooking Oil (Yellow Grease)

Used vegetable cooking oil must be removed for recycling by a licensed BIC hauler and the receipts or manifests for such pickups must be kept on the premise for at least one year.  DEP grease inspections will include a check for these receipts, so please be sure they are readily available for viewing at the time of the inspection.

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