Focused on the world of grease interceptors; how they work, the codes and standards that govern them and the stakeholders affected by them.
Interceptor Whisperer Launches Independent Consulting Service
A career is a funny thing – rarely can a person predict their career path. People often ask me what I do and how I got where I am in my career. That always makes me smile.…
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Integral vs External Vented Flow Control; How the Code Distinguishes Between Them
The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) provides requirements governing flow control devices for commercial grease interceptors. Confusion and subsequent questions are prolific enough to warrant a blog post to clear things up…
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What Exactly is Hydromechanical Separation?
Did you know that the term hydromechnical or hydro-mechanical if you prefer, is not unique to grease interceptors? For example, Hydro-mechanical drive-trains are a type of transmission used in a variety of different types of vehicles from small passenger hybrids to very large construction equipment…
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What is Air Entrainment?
Once in a while I hear something that makes my mouth fall open while a look of utter astonishment creeps over my face. Recently someone claimed that a certain manufacturer’s grease interceptors are not hydromechanical grease interceptors (HGIs) because they do not incorporate air entrainment. A statement like that is a little inside baseball so I understand if you don’t understand my initial reaction…
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Is Lard Still an Appropriate Media for Testing HGIs?
Why do we still use pork lard for testing and rating hydromechanical grease interceptors? There are so many different oils used in cooking today with varying densities and viscosities; isn’t it time to change from pork lard to something else? These questions come up from time to time and deserve an answer…
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Born of Necessity, the Mother of Invention
As the United States came out of the Great Depression in the late 1930’s it was in fact the war raging in Europe that provided an almost overnight recovery. Despite resistance, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease Act, which was passed by Congress in March 1941, committed America’s vast resources to the war effort against the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan). Roosevelt aimed to make America the “great arsenal of democracy,” and America was definitely on board.…
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The Grease Co-op Role Model
If you’ve met David McNeil or attended one of his presentations then you know how passionate he is about his city’s FOG program. David is the Environmental Services Manager for the City of Tempe, Arizona and he is an evangelist for the Tempe Grease Cooperative (TGC). His passion for the program and its success might just be enough to make you a believer in the concept as well…
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I Have a Bone to Pick with GGI Sizing
The 30 minute retention time has no basis in scientific data or research that would justify its use for sizing GGIs…
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Interview with Sarah Limb
Sarah Limb is a pretreatment inspector and manages the FOG program at the City of Springfield Department of Environmental Services in Missouri. I recently learned that the jurisdiction had modified its FOG ordinance to disallow concrete interceptors...
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Isn't it Time to Outlaw Concrete?
I recently heard of an ordinance change in Springfield, Missouri, that surprised me. Effective February 2016 the jurisdiction no longer allows concrete interceptors...
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Selecting HGIs by Flow-Rate Alone Isn't Enough
Grease interceptors come with two critical pieces of information; maximum flow rate and grease storage capacity. Why then does the sizing and selection of grease interceptors only consider one factor; flow rate?
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Why Shortcutting a Standard Doesn’t Work
As you know I try to stay abreast of the goings on in our industry. Like when a competitor launches a new product or a testing lab introduces a new standard. I am particularly interested if these events are in any way linked...
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Welcome to the New Location for the Interceptor Whisperer Blog
2016 promises to be a very interesting and challenging year. Let's see, we are electing a new president this year, the Seattle Seahawks look set to make another run at the super bowl, and... Oh yeah, this blog has moved to a new location:
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Accuracy Should Trump Easy-Peasy
In January the ASME A112.14.3 sub-committee will once again meet to try to update the standard, which has remained unchanged since its publication in 2000…
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Clean Water - Something to Be Thankful For
This week here in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a nationally recognized holiday originally set aside for…
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The Baffling Requirement for Baffles
I am always baffled when I see a requirement for baffles in an interceptor. Why are they required and do they actually improve performance?…
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Is There FOG in Food Waste?
I recently submitted an article to PM Engineer Magazine asking the question, "is there FOG in food waste?" which was published in the September 2015 issue.…
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Where Did the 30 Minute Retention Time Come From?
It seems today that it is universally agreed to that gravity grease interceptors (GGI) are supposed to be sized based on a 30-minute retention time…
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A Big Dirty Secret in Facilitator Magazine
In order for a food service establishment to maintain a grease interceptor properly they need to understand how much grease they produce and how much grease their interceptor can efficiently separate and store…
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Trapping and Venting for Grease Interceptors
From time to time I will get an email that contains a schematic of a grease interceptor installation with the question, "does this look right?"…
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Steel Grease Interceptor's Costly but Last Tearout and Replacement
Steel grease interceptor's corrode and fail over time. That's a fact that's generally not in dispute. How long it can take can vary of course, but is influenced by restaurant menu, frequency of pumpouts and thoroughness of cleaning…
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Regulatory Compliance Manager; Fancy Title or Job Description?
Recent activities I have been involved in have made me think that people really don't understand what it is that I do for a living. There's no secret that I work for a grease interceptor manufacturer, But, what do I do for Schier?…
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The 2015 IPC Committee Action Hearings - Food Waste Disposer Proposed Changes
In case you are wondering why I haven't posted an article in like over a month, allow me to divulge my recent activities so you will understand and perhaps sympathize with how I set my priorities…
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The Inherent Problems with CSA B481.2
You may be familiar with Canadian Standards Association's (CSA) standard B481 which governs hydromechanical grease interceptors. What you may not know is that B481 contains two alternative ratings designated as B481.1 and B481.2…
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Video - Grease Production Sizing Method
I realize that I recently blogged about the topic of Schier's Grease Production Sizing Method, but as I travel around the country visiting with pretreatment professionals I repeatedly see the need for a better sizing approach for grease interceptors…
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Schier's Owner's Manual - Fostering Partnerships for the Environment
When you scour the pretreatment program landscape it's not hard to see that many jurisdictions spend a fair amount of resources on marketing materials or campaigns designed to communicate the need for restaurants to reduce the discharges of fats, oils and grease (FOG) to help mitigate their destructive effects on collection systems…
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2015 IPC Expands Approved Grease Interceptors
The 2015 International Plumbing Code (IPC) has been out since the summer of 2014 and for the first time it has expanded the approved types of grease interceptors to include gravity grease interceptors (GGI) and fats, oils and grease (FOG) disposal systems…
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The 25% Rule; Where Did It Come From?
Have you heard of the 25% rule? In case you are unaware or have been off-planet for a while let me explain…
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Grease Production Sizing
Although sizing grease interceptors, whether gravity or hydromechanical, has always been based solely on flow rate, this strategy falls short in that it does not consider how much grease a specific food service facility could produce…
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High Capacity Hybrid HGI Replacement of 1000 Gallon GGI
Replacing a large volume gravity grease interceptor is expensive and time consuming. Owners like Chipotle Mexican Grill are opting for better performing high-capacity hybrid hydromechanical (HGI) grease interceptors such as Schier's Great Basin series to replace failing concrete gravity interceptors…
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Grease Interceptors Are Not Called Traps Anymore
Every now and again the question of whether a grease interceptor is still considered a trap comes up. Grease interceptor...grease trap...you say tomayto, I say tomahto - does it really matter?…
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Plumbing Codes and Pretreatment Ordinances
One of the biggest challenges in the evolving world of grease interceptors is understanding the roles of plumbing codes and pretreatment ordinances…
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Series Versus Parallel Installations
When you need more capacity in a grease interceptor than is available for a given size, you have to make a decision; move up to a larger size interceptor or add another (or more than) one of the same size…
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Bernoulli's Principle Revisited
One of the most popular posts I have written deals with the question of whether Bernoulli's Principle is behind the operation of hydromechanical grease interceptors, as some have argued…
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Are Automatic Grease Removal Devices the Answer?
I regularly get asked to talk about Automatic Grease Removal Devices (AGRD), you know, the pro's and con's…
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What’s Wrong With Semi-Automatic Draw-Off?
The contents of a grease interceptor, especially one that has not been cleaned out recently, is nothing short of breathtaking!…
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LEED Points for Grease Interceptors?
The point of this post is to answer a question that comes up from time to time, "are there any LEED credits for particular grease interceptors?"…
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Understanding Rated Grease Capacity Versus Maximum Grease Capacity
The grease interceptor revolution is about challenging the status quo. It's about asking tough questions and thinking radically different about the answers. It's about listening to the people who are affected by the products we make…
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The Grease Interceptor Revolution
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which sounds good to me, although I'm not sure who 'they' is. If it's true, then the Schier team should be blushing, based on whats been happening in the world of grease interceptors recently…
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Is Bernoulli's Principle Behind Grease Interceptor Performance?
When it comes to how grease interceptor's work, there are many theories espoused that are supposed to be based on principles of fluid dynamics, however, when tested under controlled conditions many of these theories are debunked…
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The Real Difference Between Gravity and Hydromechanical Grease Interceptors
Are you one of those who thinks that Gravity Grease Interceptors (GGI) are better than Hydromechanical Grease Interceptors (HGI) because they are so much bigger?…
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Head to Head Comparison; Hydromechanical Versus Gravity Interceptor
Have you ever wondered how a gravity grease interceptor and a hydromechanical grease interceptor would perform given the same test parameters?…
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How Do Gravity Grease Interceptors Work and How Efficient Are They?
Many jurisdictions across the United States either favor exterior gravity interceptors or outright mandate them, some going as far as disallowing hydromechanical grease interceptors altogether…
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A FOG Inspector Gets The Spotlight
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a FOG inspector? Oakley Taylor of Bend Oregon was in the spotlight recently in this news story:…
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Mandated Design Requirements For Grease Interceptors; Why It's a Bad Idea!
Many jurisdictions mandate prescriptive design elements for grease interceptors like, "must have a minimum of two compartments" or "must have a minimum liquid holding capacity of 500/750/1000 gallons", etc.…
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Why Effluent Concentration Limits for Grease Interceptors Are Not Appropriate
Proper grease interceptor maintenance is a critical component to any FOG abatement program. The challenge for jurisdictions is figuring out when an interceptor is full and how often it should be maintained…
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The Standards That Govern Grease Interceptors (All Types) in North America
When it comes to grease interceptors there are a variety of recognized standards that have been developed over the years that govern performance requirements, construction requirements or both…
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Kitchen Fixtures and Grease Interceptors; Does It Matter?
Some plumbing codes have exacerbated FOG related pretreatment problems by incorporating vague language regarding which fixtures should be routed through an interceptor…
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Article Published in WA-APWA Magazine Fall 2012 Issue
Adam Gallion, pretreatment inspector for Southwest Suburban Sewer District in Burien Washington, approached me earlier this year to help document an installation of an alternate gravity interceptor design with a "WERF" style internal piping configuration…
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Grease Interceptors; What's Wrong With the Plumbing Code?
Jurisdictions across the country rely on the Uniform Plumbing Code to help them solve their local grease related problems. It is becoming increasingly clear that the "code" is not providing adequate solutions in fats, oils, and grease (FOG) abatement efforts…
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Grease Interceptors; 2009 UPC Versus 2006 UPC
In the 2006 Uniform Plumbing Code the term 'Grease Trap' was replaced by a new term 'Hydromechanical Grease Interceptor' which is defined as: …
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Grease Interceptors; Hydromechanical, What Is That?
The 2006 Uniform Plumbing Code made some interesting changes in chapter 10 relating to grease traps that have some people confused. Lets clear it up…
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Grease Interceptors - Materials of Construction, Does It Matter?
Today, as never before, grease interceptors are being offered in a variety of materials including stainless steel, a variety of different thermoplastics and even fiberglass…
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Resources

Here is a list with links to some helpful studies and articles:


A Literature Review on the Evaluation of Design Parameters for Modern Grease Traps and High Strength Wastes, R. R. Kommalapati, R. Johnson, 2001

Assessment of Grease Interceptor Performance, Water Environment Research Foundation, 2008

Basic Principles for Sizing Grease Interceptors, Plumbing and Drainage Institute

Brown Grease Supply Study, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Commissioned by Clean Water Services (Washington County Oregon), 2011

Characterization of Grease Interceptors for Removing Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) and Mechanisms of FOG Deposit Formation in Sewer Systems, X. He, 2012

Design and Operation of Grease Interceptors, Sewage Works Journal, Vol. 16, No. 3, published by Water Environment Federation, Francis Murray Dawson, Anton Adam Kalinske, 1944

Design Manual: Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems, US EPA, 1980

EPA Report to Congress, US EPA 833-R-04-001, 2004

Fact Sheet National Pretreatment Program Controlling Fats, Oils, and Grease Discharges from Food Service Establishments, US EPA 40 CFR 403, 2012

FOG Interceptor Design and Operation (FOGIDO) Guidance Manual, Water Environment Research Foundation, 2008

Food-Service Establishment Wastewater Characterization, B. J. Lesikar, O. A. Garza, R. A. Persyn, A. L. Kenimer, M. T. Anderson, 2006

Methods of Estimating Loads in Plumbing Systems, Building Materials and Structures Report, BMS65, Roy B. Hunter, 1940

Onsite Treatment and Disposal of Restaurant Wastewater, R. L. Siegrist, J. C. Converse, D. L. Anderson, 1984

Onsite Wastwewater Treatment systems Manual, US EPA, 2002 (update to 1980 Design Manual)

Orange County Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) Control Study, Phase 1, Environmental Engineering and Contracting, J. Shaffer et. al., 2003

Orange County Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) Control Study, Phase 2, Final Report, Environmental Engineering and Contracting, J. Shaffer et. al., 2006

Properties Influencing Fat, Oil, and Grease Deposit Formation, K. M. Keener, J. J. Ducoste, L. M. Holt, 2007

Separation of Pollutants from Restaurant Wastewater by Electrocoagulation, X. Chen, G. Chen, P. L. Yue, 1999

Testing and Rating Procedure for Hydro Mechanical Grease Interceptors with Appendix of Sizing and Installation Data, Standard PDI G-101, Plumbing and Drainage Institute, 1996

Testing and Rating Procedure for Hydro Mechanical Grease Interceptors with Appendix of Installation and Maintenance, Standard PDI G-101, Plumbing and Drainage Institute, 2012

Urban Waste Grease Resource Assessment, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1998

The University of Iowa Studies in Engineering, Bulletin 30, The Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, 1946

Upgrading the Conventional Grease Trap using a Tube Settler, W. Chu, F. Ng, 2000

Presentations

If you would like to have the Interceptor Whisperer give a presentation to your group please send me an email at ken.loucks@schierproducts.com.

These are the topics I am presenting this year:

Title:
Fundamentals of grease interceptor performance

Summary:
Many pretreatment and plumbing code professionals believe that there is a difference between how gravity grease interceptors and hydromechanical grease interceptors work. What they do not realize is that all hydromechanical and gravity type grease interceptors work off of the same principles of fluid dynamics. This presentation will explain the principles operating behind all grease interceptors.

Title:
The standards that govern hydromechanical and gravity grease interceptors

Summary:
When it comes to grease interceptors there are a variety of recognized standards that have been developed over the years that govern performance requirements, construction requirements or both. This presentation will explore all of the available standards for North America and the types of interceptors they govern.

Title:
FOG abatement strategies

Summary:
Effective FOG abatement strategies range from improved plumbing code language to better kitchen BMPs to clear and defensible pretreatment policy. What has proven to work and what needs improvement? This presentation answers these questions and more.

Title:
Grease Production Sizing for grease interceptors

Summary:
Properly sizing a grease interceptor has been a challenge for decades. Plumbing codes and pretreatment policies focus on flow rates or liquid volume but fail to consider the amount of grease an interceptor should be expected to separate and store or how often the interceptor is expected to be maintained. This presentation explains how to use Grease Production Sizing for better results.

About Me

Ken Loucks
Regulatory Compliance Manager
Schier Products Company
cell: 360-540-0570 cell
ken.loucks@schierproducts.com
LinkedIn Profile

My occupation centers on creating partnerships with pretreatment professionals around the U.S. and Canada to facilitate the creation of or improvement to fats, oils and grease (FOG) abatement programs. I provide research and analysis on the issues relating to grease interceptors to educate, inform and sometimes entertain colleagues. I also interface with code bodies and standards committees on amendments or changes to content that affect grease interceptors. I am currently a member of the ASME A112.14.3 sub-committee tasked with updating the standard and a member of the 2015-2017 IPC Code Committee for the 2018 International Plumbing Code.

I have worked in the plumbing industry since 1989 in wholesale distribution, as a manufacturer’s representative, and directly for manufacturing. For the past several years I have worked specifically on codes, standards, ordinances, bylaws and policies as they affect the products we manufacture across the United States and Canada.

I have extensive experience dealing with grease interceptors, the standards that govern them and the codes that adopt those standards. I have worked with jurisdictions across the United States and Canada to understand the codes and standards that they have adopted and the specific application of those standards and codes as related to grease interceptors. I also have extensive experience dealing with formally adopted ordinances, bylaws and policies relating to fats, oils and grease (polar and non-polar) abatement.

The Interceptor Whisperer
You might be wondering where the name "the Interceptor Whisperer" came from and why I am using it as the name of this blog. Let me give you the background so you won't think I'm some kind of narcissist.

Apparently I get a little passionate about the world of grease interceptors, governing standards, plumbing codes and pretreatment ordinances (bylaws).The first nickname I got was "The Preacher" by a pretreatment official in the Seattle area after I did a couple of presentations at The Grease Summit held in 2011 in Bellevue Washington. The title "Interceptor Whisperer" was given to me later by a colleague in Canada. Lorne Reitenbach of Equipco Ltd. thought the energy and passion I brought to his Province (Alberta) was effective, enjoyable and helpful in dealing with local pretreatment compliance and plumbing code issues, inspiring his creation of the tongue-in-cheek nickname. I thought the title was funny and I shared the story behind the title with our sales and management team. It didn't take long for someone at Schier to come up with this modified DVD cover broadcasting my new "title" and of course my co-star Lorne Reitenbach.
Though its hard to live up to a nickname like that, I try my best.

My Background
I first started working in the plumbing industry in 1989 working for a wholesale distributor. Over the next 14 years I worked as a warehouseman, driver, inside salesman, outside salesman and finally branch manager. In 2003 I went to work for a manufacturer's representative to learn how to "sell" products based on their features and benefits. I learned to review the products I was representing, how they worked, what made them different from competitors products and how to overcome obstacles in order to generate sales. In 2008 I started my own manufacturer's representative company and almost immediately was hired by Schier Products to represent them in the Pacific Northwest. I studied the plumbing codes and standards that govern grease interceptors and began working with contractors and engineers throughout the area. I quickly realized that there was a lot of confusion about how to size grease interceptors and even how interceptors actually work which led to many incorrect installations in the field. A common question that I repeatedly got was "is your interceptor approved in (fill in the blank)'s jurisdiction?" This began my education on the role of municipal pretreatment programs and how they differed and in most cases superseded plumbing codes. I started focusing a lot of time and energy on understanding the needs of these Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and working to help them achieve their pretreatment goals.

Schier Products has been learning right along side of me and in January of 2011 asked me to join the Schier team full time. As we continue to learn and grow as a company, we want to serve stakeholders such as the pretreatment community as much as possible. It is this desire which led to the creation of the position I now hold - Regulatory Compliance Manager. In this role I am focused on working with municipal pretreatment programs, plumbing codes and standards committees to help create more effective FOG abatement programs and a landscape that favors products that are more efficient, have more capacity and have proven performance.

Posts by Category

This page is intended to organize articles (posts) into subject areas in order to make it easier to find content you may be interested in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Grease Interceptors Have to be Vented?
Is a Grease Interceptor Considered a Trap?
Do Multiple Grease interceptors in Series or Parallel Have to be Certified as an Assembly?

Nuts and Bolts

Accuracy Should Trump Easy-Peasy
The Baffling Requirement for Baffles
Trapping and Venting for Grease Interceptors
Grease Production Sizing
Grease Interceptors Are Not Called Traps Anymore
Series versus Parallel Installations
Are Automatic Grease Removal Devices the Answer?
What's Wrong with Semi-Automatic Draw-Off?
Is Bernoulli's Principle Behind Grease Interceptor Performance?
The Real Difference Between Gravity and Hydromechanical Grease Interceptors
Head to Head Comparison; Hydromechanical vs. Gravity Interceptor
How do Gravity Grease Interceptors Work and How Efficient are they?

Pretreatment Policy

Clean Water - Something to Be Thankful For
The Baffling Requirement for Baffles
Is There FOG in Food Waste?
Where Did the 30 Minute Retention Time Come From?
Schier's Owner's Manual - Fostering Partnerships for the Environment
Grease Production Sizing
Plumbing Codes and Pretreatment Ordinances
The 25% Rule; Where Did it Come From?
Mandated Design Requirements for Grease Interceptors; Why it's a Bad Idea
Why Effluent Concentration Limits for Grease Interceptors is not Appropriate
Kitchen Fixtures and Grease Interceptors; Does it Matter?
Grease Interceptors - Materials of Construction, Does it Matter?

Plumbing Codes and Standards

Accuracy Should Trump Easy-Peasy
Where Did the 30 Minute Retention Time Come From?
Trapping and Venting for Grease Interceptors
The Inherent Problems with CSA B481.2
The 2015 IPC Committee Action Hearings - Food Waste Disposer Proposed Changes
2015 IPC Expands Approved Grease Interceptors
Plumbing Codes and Pretreatment Ordinances
Understanding Rated Grease Capacity versus Maximum Grease Capacity
The Grease Interceptor Revolution
The Standards that Govern Grease Interceptors (all types) in North America
Grease Interceptors; What's Wrong with the Plumbing Code?
Grease Interceptors; 2009 UPC vs 2006 UPC
Grease Interceptors - Hydromechanical; What Is That?

News Stories, Events and Videos:

Is There FOG in Food Waste?
A Big Dirty Secret in Facilitator Magazine
Steel Grease Interceptor's Costly but Last Tearout and Replacement
High Capacity Hybrid HGI Replacement of 1000 Gallon GGI
Video - Grease Production Sizing Method
A FOG Inspector Gets the Spotlight
Article Published in WA-APWA Magazine Fall 2012 Issue

Misc:

Clean Water - Something to Be Thankful For
Regulatory Compliance Manager; Fancy Title or Job Description?
LEED Points for Grease Interceptors?