If you own or manage a restaurant in the greater Chicago area, maintaining a sanitary and functional kitchen is of utmost importance. One of the key components in your restaurant’s plumbing system is the grease trap, which is responsible for capturing fats, oils, and greases (FOG) before they enter the city’s sewer system. Grease traps play a crucial role in preventing sewer blockages, backups, and costly fines due to non-compliance with local regulations. In order to keep your Chicago restaurant running smoothly and in compliance with local sanitation guidelines, regular grease trap maintenance becomes a necessity.

In this informative guide, we will delve into the importance of proper grease trap maintenance, including the benefits of regular cleaning, potential issues that can arise if not maintained correctly, and tips on how to develop an efficient maintenance routine. As your local plumbing and drain cleaning experts, our mission is to provide you with up-to-date information, support, and guidance as you navigate the important responsibilities of keeping your restaurant’s grease trap in optimal condition. By investing time and effort in regular maintenance, you can help minimize potential problems that can arise from poor grease trap performance, ensuring the well-being of your restaurant and protecting the environment.

Running a restaurant in Chicago comes with its share of challenges and responsibilities. However, by prioritizing regular grease trap maintenance, you can uphold the highest standards of sanitation, comply with local regulations, and maintain the efficiency of your plumbing system. Let our team of professionals guide you through the steps to develop a custom maintenance plan that addresses your restaurant’s needs, ensuring a clean, efficient, and long-lasting grease trap that sustains the success of your establishment.

The Function of Grease Traps

  • How Grease Traps Work: Grease traps are designed to intercept and separate FOG from wastewater. They prevent these substances from entering the city’s sewer system, blocking pipes and causing environmental harm. As wastewater from your dishwashers and sinks flows through the grease trap, FOG cools and solidifies, forming a floating layer that is captured and retained in the trap.
  • Chicago Regulations Regarding Grease Traps: Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) mandates the installation and upkeep of grease traps in food service establishments. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and potential business interruption. Regular maintenance and cleaning of your grease trap are crucial in complying with these regulations.

Benefits of Grease Trap Maintenance

  • Compliance with Local Regulations: By maintaining your grease trap, you demonstrate your commitment to keeping the city’s sewer system free of blockages and ensuring environmental safety. Diligent maintenance helps your restaurant stay compliant with local guidelines and avoid expensive fines.
  • Enhanced Plumbing System Efficiency: Regular cleaning and servicing of your grease trap prevent the buildup of FOG and debris, which can obstruct water flow and lead to slow drains or backups. A clean, well-functioning grease trap promotes overall plumbing system efficiency.

Potential Issues with Poor Grease Trap Maintenance

  • Plumbing Issues: A poorly maintained grease trap may lead to slow drains, foul odors, and even sewer backups. Inadequate cleaning of your grease trap can also cause damage to your plumbing system, requiring costly repairs.
  • Non-Compliance with Regulations: As mentioned earlier, failure to comply with grease trap maintenance requirements set by local authorities can result in severe fines, possible closure of your restaurant, and damage to your reputation.

Developing an Efficient Grease Trap Maintenance Routine

  • Schedule Regular Cleanings: Plan and schedule routine cleanings based on the rate of FOG accumulation in your grease trap. Typically, grease traps should be cleaned when they reach 25% capacity. For many restaurants, this could mean monthly or quarterly cleanings.
  • Keep Records: Maintain accurate records of each grease trap cleaning, including dates, services performed, and the technician responsible. These records may be required during inspections by the MWRD.
  • Professional Assistance: Consider partnering with a professional plumbing and drain cleaning company that specializes in grease trap maintenance. They can help you develop an optimal maintenance schedule and ensure proper cleaning and compliance with regulations.


Regular grease trap maintenance is vital to the successful operation of your Chicago restaurant. By keeping your grease trap clean and functioning, you can maintain compliance with local regulations, protect your plumbing system from potential damages, and promote an efficient and sanitary kitchen environment.

If you need assistance with grease trap maintenance or want to learn more about keeping your plumbing system in top shape, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts. Chicago Sewer Experts provide you with comprehensive solutions tailored to your restaurant’s needs, ensuring a safe and efficient establishment in the greater Chicago area.