Everything You Need To Know About
Grease Traps In Ireland

Grease traps have been around for more than 100 years. The concept is quite simple. Wastewater (usually from commercial kitchens)containing fats, oils and grease (or simply F.O.G.)enters a receptacle. F.O.G. does not mix with water and as F.O.G. is lighter than water it rises to the top. The clear water escapes under an outlet baffle whilst the grease remains trapped in the tank.

A traditional/manual grease trap needs to be opened and the trapped F.O.G. pumped out once a month.(an Automatic Grease Guardian removes the trapped grease automatically every day).Without the inclusion of a grease trap in commercial kitchens the health and safety of the establishment may be compromised.

Grease will cause blockages and foul odours if left untreated. It is common for government bodies to fine owners who fail to install some form of grease treatment and consequently create grease problems. Remember, your grease may be causing someone else trouble and it is usually not difficult to trace the source of the problem.

Irish Water requires that all new constructions and renovations of hot food establishments must have the means to remove grease from the site. These are necessary at all hot food preparation sites for the staff or the public. These include:

-Canteens at factories or offices
-Colleges and Schools
-Pubs and Inns that prepare food on-site
-Delicatessen counters
-Food Production Kitchens
-Convenience stores

If your business releases trade effluent into a public sewer, obtaining a trade effluent discharge to sewer license (issued under Section 16 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977, as amended) is essential. Restaurants, takeaways, pubs serving in-house prepared food, cafes, coffee shops, and hotels all fall under the category of establishments requiring such a license.

Specifically, a Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) Trade Effluent license is mandated for restaurants, takeaways, and similar establishments involved in food preparation. It is imperative to install a grease trap of suitable size based on the generated wastewater volume, with regular inspections by Irish Water. Maintenance, cleaning, and regular servicing of the grease trap are mandatory, and documentation is required to validate compliance with these requirements.

There are different-sized units available; First you need to decide whether you would like a manual or automatic grease trap.

Check out our easy to use sizing guide. You can size your grease trap by fixtures, flow rate or meals per day.

We also have an online sizing guide that allows you to size At Source or Centralised grease traps.

To comply with waste regulations, a food service establishment (FSE) must install grease trapping or grease retention equipment to reduce fat, oil, and grease (FOG) levels in the final discharge. Additionally, implementing Best Management Practices (BMP) within the FSE is crucial to minimise the production of FOG. It is imperative that the design, operation, and maintenance of grease management equipment align fully with the pertinent standards and the manufacturer's instructions. Equipment that is either undersized or oversized will fail to yield the necessary outcomes.

Passive Traps – Unfortunately, unless maintained every couple of weeks grease trap efficiency will drop and grease will escape or build up and overflow. This is common where the grease trap was undersized or business has expanded. You need to empty your system at least once a month but this can prove costly.

Perhaps an Automatic Grease Removal device should be considered. Grease Guardian can be installed at the source of the problem, i.e. potwash sinks, ovens etc. and will extract trapped grease each day preventing any grease build up that could result in a drop in efficiency. Enzyme/Bacteria systems – These systems may not break down the grease efficiently and allow the grease to build up.

Furthermore, they need to be topped up regularly, which can prove costly. Your local council may be unhappy that you are using such a system as it takes grease away from your premises only to see it reform somewhere else. Other Grease Removal devices though claiming high flow rates actually have very small tank sizes and therefore allow grease to escape easily. Many are made of plastic which is prone to leaks. A Grease Guardian protects you and the local environment and does not require enzymes or bacteria.

If the Inspectors from Irish Water visit your business and find that your kitchen lacks a grease trap or has a malfunctioning one, they typically recommend reaching out to a licensed company such as Grease Guardian to address the issue. However, if this becomes a recurring problem, additional measures may be taken.

All FSE’s (Food Service Establishments) are legally required to apply for a Trade Effluent FOG Licence. This allows food operators to discharge their catering wastewater into the public sewer. However, if compliance with licensing requirements cannot be demonstrated for the previous year a current licence will not be issued. The premises will be informed of their non-compliance and given time to address the issues.

Under Section 16 (1) of the Public Health Act, the food operator is subject to criminal liability if they cannot demonstrate compliance with the conditions of their Discharge Licence.

You can apply for a Trade Effluent License licence via the Irish Water website.

If you operate a restaurant, café, hotel, fast food outlet, You will need to apply for a Trade Effluent FOG Licence 

The cost is €380.00 per year.

Yes, your grease trap equipment will undergo inspections by an Irish Water representative up to four times annually. These inspections may occur without prior notice, and inspectors will request documentation pertaining to the design, manufacture, and maintenance of the grease trapping equipment.

Irish Water inspectors require licensees to maintain, document and monitor the performance of grease traps on their premises. If licenses fail to procure any of the above documents, they will be tagged as non-compliance licensees.
The inspector will notify you about any non-compliant issues with your grease trap. These issues should be addressed within the inspection period. Grease Guardian can assist you with non-compliance issues; contact us here.


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