Ensure that you and your restaurant are ready when a grease trap inspector knocks on your door to inspect your trap. Municipalities mandate a grease trap inspection for restaurants that are to be licensed or re-licensed to serve food to the public. Failure to comply can result in fines or a shutdown.
In Houston, grease trap inspections are completed on a routine basis or if a complaint is reported. There is no prior notification for inspections so you need to be ready at all times.
During an inspection, the City’s investigator will need to be provided with the following documents:
– Original Fats, Oils, and Grease Permit
– Yellow and white copies of waste manifests for the past 5 years
– Notice of Waiver (if applicable)
– Copies of previous inspections
During the grease trap inspection, your sample well, grease trap, dumpster, rendering oil bin, and surrounding area will be checked for proper maintenance and upkeep. Upon completion of inspection, you will be asked to sign the inspection form and citation when applicable. Copies of the inspection form will be given to you for your records.
Permits are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
Penalties for violations run $250 to $2000 with each day of non-compliance potentially considered a separate violation.
In Houson, you are a “special waste generator” (the term used in municipal code) if you own or manage a restaurant or any food dealer establishment with a grease trap.
The difference between a “grease trap interceptor” and a trap is simply the rate of flow and therefore the size of the system. Grease traps typically flow at 50 gallons per minute or less and “grease interceptors” handle higher volumes of 50 gallons per minute and more. But, the terms are interchangeable under Houston’s Municipal Code, meaning the rules are the same no matter which one you use at your restaurant.
Section 47-512(b) of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances mandates that every grease trap located within the incorporated City limits must be fully evacuated at least on a quarterly basis (every 90 days) unless a Notice of Waiver application is submitted and approved.
Grease Trap Inspection Preparation
Your grease trap cleaning company should check the following to insure you are prepared for your city’s grease trap inspection:
- Inspect cover, gaskets, bolts, rods, baffles and baskets.
- Inspect for rust and weak points
- Check flow rate of the trap.
- Recommend frequency of cleaning traps
- Check volume of grease and water in trap (max 25% grease).
- Inspect condition of strainers and screens
- Compile a complete condition report
- Review your cleaning records and inspections.
- Advise you on best practices.