Interceptor Maintenance: Why, When and How

Whether you like it or not, your grease interceptor is an integral part of your business.

Interceptors are not yet a “set it and forget it”  technology. Without regular maintenance, your business could be subject to fines, crippling shut-downs, and brand-damaging reports.But it’s not all bad. In fact, interceptors have never been more environmentally sustainable, user-friendly, or cost-effective than they are right now. So cost-effective in fact, that you may choose to have your unit regularly serviced by licensed professionals. In any case, the following maintenance tips should prove helpful to restaurant owners, pumpers, and haulers alike.

When does the grease interceptor require maintenance?

Some recommend cleaning as soon as there are two inches of accumulated grease; others claim every 90 days. But the optimal answer depends on how much grease you’re releasing, as well as your local requirements. So once installed, monitor your interceptor’s accumulation rate. Clean it when it approaches the grease capacity from the product marking plate. The time it takes to get there is how often you should perform the following steps.

How to clean the grease interceptor


  1. If time permits, let a large block of ice melt in a sink connected to your interceptor. The cold will effectively congeal the grease, allowing for easier removal.
  2. Remove interceptor covers and skim the top for debris. All interceptor contents must be stored and disposed of according to the local authority.
  3. Snake the vacuum to the bottom of the interceptor and vacuum out any solids. Remove the remaining liquid.
  4. Scrape and clean all baffles, inlets, outlets and ports, as well as the sides of the interceptor itself. Rinse with clean water and vacuum again.
  5. Thoroughly inspect baffles, inlets, outlets and ports to ensure everything is in working order. Contact your manufacturer if you have any questions.
  6. Refill with clean water in accordance with the size of your interceptor.
  7. Securely replace all interceptor covers. If any are cracked or damaged, replace them before resuming use.
  8. Check the surrounding area for spills and soak up accordingly.

A restaurant owner is always responsible for the state of their interceptor. If you’ve elected to hire a pumper/hauler, you should always be on-site during cleaning to ensure you’re up to code. But regardless of whether you hire out or clean your interceptor yourself, always keep detailed records (most manuals will have templates for doing so). They are your best defence in case an inspector threatens punitive action.

For tips on selecting the optimal grease interceptor for your application, read Sizing Up (or Down) Grease Interceptors.

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