Grease Traps

What is a Grease Trap and Why Do I Need One?

Food establishments are required to provide a grease trap to protect the intrusion of fats, oils, and greases into the City’s sanitary sewer system. To provide for sanitary conditions in food preparation areas, these tanks are typically required to be located underground outside the building. Sizing of the trap is determined by the number and size of fixtures that provide water flow into the trap, but the typical size ranges from 500 to 1,500 gallons. The proposed amendment would adopt a standard sizing calculation that determines the minimum size based on number and size of drains and the calculated flow in gallons per minute. The chart would be required to be updated every five years to account for changes in technology and best practices.

At its April 26, 2022 meeting, City Council approved comprehensive amendments to Section 94.10, adopting an official sizing chart for grease traps, assigning responsibility for permitting and enforcement, specifying additional performance standards and enforcement mechanisms, and creating an exception for properties downtown where space for larger underground tanks is limited.

Where Can I Put a Grease Trap?

Outside of downtown, grease traps must be installed outside the building to decrease the likelihood of contamination and pests in areas where foot is handled.

The City recognizes that restaurants and businesses within the historic downtown area frequently lack adequate space to install large underground tanks within the boundaries of their property. Excavation activities can also produce an adverse impact on historic buildings. Alternative technology also allows for indoor grease traps that have a smaller footprint, though they may need to be cleaned more frequently. The adopted regulations allow the Building Official to issue a permit in downtown for an alternative type and size of trap that is less than the proposed sizing chart, including a trap installed inside a building, if the device is certified by a licensed engineer.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean or Maintain a Grease Trap?

Grease traps have to be cleaned out by a qualified servicer a minimum of every three months. To ensure any trap that is permitted functions adequately, the ordinance empowers the City Health Inspector to require more frequent waste removal intervals and to require more intensive cleaning in and around the trap if she determines increased intervals or cleanings are necessary to maintain the safety of sanitary sewer system and to maintain sanitary conditions inside or outside the building. If a business or operator fails to comply, the City reserves other remedies to protect its system, such as discontinuance of water service, revocation of Certificate of Occupancy, or requiring an Industrial Discharge Permit.

How Do I Determine How Large My Grease Trap Needs to Be?

Outside of Downtown, a prospective business owner can use the fillable chart adopted by the City to determine the size of trap that’s required. The chart uses the number and size of fixtures to calculate the potential flow For a standardized trap, please round up to the nearest standard size.

For assistance completing the fillable form, please contact City of Cleburne Health Department at 817-556-8819 and ask to be connected with the dept. manager who conducts the plan reviews. For questions regarding permit issuance, please contact the Building Official at 817-556-8801.

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