What can I do about grease trap smell?
First, determine whether the odor is coming from somewhere outside or inside.
While this may seem straight forward, it usually isn't. The majority of the time the smell is not coming from the
grease trap! It is important to determine where and when the odor occurs. Is the smell inside or outside? Is
it near the bathrooms or near the kitchen? Is it close to a wall or near a corner? Does the smell occur only in
the morning, afternoon, dinner, or constantly?
Is the smell really coming from the grease trap?
If the smell is inside your facility, the grease trap not to blame. More likely, you have a dry p-trap in one or
more of your floor drains, a cracked or loose vent pipe, or a poorly balanced venthood system.
How do I fix my inside odor problems?
There a couple of quick fixes you should try before you spend any money.
First, pour a gallon of water into each of your floor drains in all bathrooms and the kitchen. This will probably
solve most issues. The water acts as a barrier and prevents sewer gasses inside the drain lines from
backing up into your facility. If the water evaporates and a gap forms, sewer gas immediately starts filling the
room. Once the drain is filled back up with water, the odor should go away immediately.
Second, if the smell occurs when a toilet is flushed or water is running, you probably have a cracked, broken,
or loose vent pipe also check for a wobbly toilet as you may need a new wax seal. These areplumbing issues
and you need to call your plumber. If you don't have one, give us a call and we'll refer you to some reputable
Third, this is where the timing question comes in. If you only get a smell when your kitchen is in production
you may have a problem with your venthood return air system. Your venthood is designed to suck out smoke
and heat from your stoves. A properly balanced system pushes in outside air at the same rate it vacuums out
heated air from your kitchen. If it is not balanced and exhausting too fast, a vacuum results, which then pulls
air (and odors) from everywhere, including your bathrooms and drains. If this is happening, when guests
enter your facility, an exaggerated breeze of air will come in with them. Your venthood service company
should be able to adjust this pretty quickly. If you do not currently have a good company, call us and we'll be
glad to refer you to reputable companies.
It's outside. It must be my trap, right?
Tracking outside odors can be a little more challenging, and
may require you to become a "stink connoisseur" of sorts.
Surprisingly, the dumpster is more frequently to blame than
the grease trap. Verify that your can is being dumped at the
appropriate frequency and that it occasionally gets washed out.
Less likely but still frequent culprits, are plumbing problems
originating from the city lines. Check with your city's information
line or plumbing department to verify any existing city backups.
Backups downstream from your facility can force sewer gas out
of a manhole close by. If that is the case, your only remedy is to
hope the odor self-corrects once the issue has been resolved.
If it doesn't, then complain, complain, complain to the city about
the noxious odor and hope they can address the issue. Storm
sewers are also known to periodically emit noxious odors.
However, if the odors are definitely coming from your trap, the
only remedy is to pump the trap out, thoroughly pressure
washing the walls and sample well. If strong odors still emanate
from it after thorough cleaning, install vapor barriers (right
photo). They are very effective at stopping the odors!
I hope your questions have been answered and you're on the
way to eliminating troublesome odors! Please let me know if
you have any other questions or problems, and if these
suggestions proved helpful to you!
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