Choosing a Grease Trap

Grease TrapReplacing an old grease trap for your restaurant? Or will you be one of the many new additions to the City of Abilene? A grease trap is about much more than just price. When choosing the best grease trap for your foodservice operations, you also have to consider available space, who will perform maintenance - at what cost - and many other factors.

Without a Grease Trap

Without a well-maintained grease trap, greasy water goes into your building's sewer line and out into the city sewer, coating the pipes with grease along the way. Over time, that grease hardens to form a clog - especially in places where the pipe turns or is dented - which causes the sewer to back up. That could be inside your restaurant or your neighbor's flower shop down the street.


There are two types of grease traps:

  • Small grease traps (50 gallons or less) - These are typically attached to the drain beneath the three-compartment sink and must be cleaned by a licensed transporter at least every 30 days.
  • Large grease traps (more than 50 gallons) - These are usually located outside and have manhole type lids. They must be cleaned by a licensed transporter at least every 90 days.

Falling Behind on Maintenance

Falling behind on trap maintenance allows food scraps at the bottom of the grease trap to begin to decompose, giving off a gas called hydrogen sulfide. When that gas mixes with water, you've got sulfuric acid, a strong corrosive that destroys pipes and concrete. When that happens, you're looking at a hefty price tag for a new grease trap, as well as repairs to pipes and infrastructure. It's important to consider all of the pros and cons of large and small grease trap options before choosing the best grease trap for you and your business.

  1. Small Grease Traps
  2. Large Grease Traps


These traps are affordable, don’t take up much space, and are easy to install.


The downside of small grease traps is that they are usually located inside, which means the smell is also inside if it’s not cleaned regularly. Let the maintenance slide, and you’ve not only got a smelly mess, but you’ve also got a grease trap that is no longer doing its job, resulting in costly plumbing problems. 

To work efficiently, these units must have a flow control device, which gives the hot greasy water time to cool and separate. This can cause slow drainage during high-volume times, which can slow down your kitchen during peak hours.