Grease traps, also known as oil interceptors, are used to remove fats, oils and grease from waste water generated by a restaurant, bar or similar commercial establishment. Wikipedia notes that these devices have been in use since the Victorian era; however, modern versions are not only more efficient than their earlier counterparts but also easier to purchase as well.

Commercial oil traps are made using stainless steel, plastic, concrete, cast iron or fiberglass. Capacity ranges from 35 liters to well over 40,000 liters. The device is usually installed under the sink but can also be placed outside the kitchen itself.

The following are important reasons why investing in high quality interceptors are a good idea:

Improve Operational Environment

The Water Environment Research Foundation notes that blockages caused by fat, oil and grease cause anywhere from 40% to 50% of all overflows. A restaurant owner who installs a trap will be spared the expense of having to regularly pay a plumber to fix sink and toilet problems.

Naturally, the importance of keeping the restaurant plumbing working properly at all times cannot be overestimated. Plumbing problems are not only an additional expense but also make for poor working conditions for employees whose performance is sure to be negatively affected. Patrons can also get sick if the restaurant has problems with its sanitary system, leading to not only a loss of revenue but also potential lawsuits.

May be a Legal Requirement

The laws regarding grease traps vary from municipality to municipality. However, New York City and many other large cities require that any commercial enterprise that prepares and serves food to patrons on site purchase and install one. Restaurants which fail to meet this requirement will be penalized. If having one of these is a legal requirement in your city, then this alone should be a good enough reason to purchase one.

Environmentally Friendly

Numerous companies have begun manufacturing environmentally friendly products. These do a lot more than simply keep harmful FOG’s out of the water supply, although this in itself is a very environmentally friendly service. These interceptors also "digest" the grease and effectively eliminate it.

The process used to eliminate grease from the interceptor varies depending on which exact model is purchased. However, all elimination methods are not only eco-friendly but also spare the restaurant’s owner the time and hassle of having to regularly dispose of accumulated grease.


The cost of one of these traps depends on where it is purchased, which company it is made by and how much FOG the device can hold. However, a small restaurant that serves no more than 100 meals a day will only need to spend $50 to $100 on a device. The cost of maintenance starts at about $300 a year but can be considerably higher for a large eatery.

As was noted above, restaurants, bars and other enterprises that serve food may be legally required to purchase one of these devices. If this is the case, then the establishment should comply with local laws and purchase a well-made device of this nature. However, even restaurants and other commercial enterprises which are not required to have these would do well to do so anyway.

Grease traps not only help to protect the environment but also reduce the cost and hassle of dealing with plumbing problems, create a better working environment for employees and protect patrons from getting sick due to plumbing overflow problems. Considering the fact that interceptors do not cost much money to purchase and maintain, they are one of the best investments a restaurant owner can make.