We have a pizza shop in Murrieta Calif (southern Cal) , We had a grease interceptor put in about a year ago and notice an intermittent sewer smell inside the restaurant from the beginning. We had a plumber come out and he noticed there was no venting system in place. The property managers plumbers who installed the system have done nothing to help. Does anyone else have this problem or no if there is supposed to be some type of venting system in place? We really need some help as we are loosing customers due to the sewer smell.
How frequently are you opening up the grease trap and Shop Vac’ing it clean?
My store that lacks a garbage disposal has foodstuff build up much worse (than the ones with) and sometimes needs to be cleaned more than one-a-month. We started buying an “enzyme additive” that gets poured down the drains at the end of the night and that helps to keep the stink from wafting up between cleanings. Even with the enzyme, the traps still need to be manually cleaned on a regular basis.
Edit: On the venting question, none of our grease traps are vented. One has an air-break, but I’m assuming you’re asking about venting to the outside of the restaurant.
Ours has an air gap pipe as well, but no vent to the outside.
We clean ours once per quarter (no garbage disposal) and haven’t had any problems.
Be sure your smell is coming from the grease trap. We had a similar smell in our restaurant and couldn’t figure it out. Turned out it was the wax seal on the toilet wasn’t sealing right. Put a new one on and it stopped smelling right away.
Also check your floor drains. If they don’t get used often the water will evaporate out of the trap, resulting in sewer gas entering the building.
I go around once each week and pour water in all of the floor drains.
I second pipers post. I pour water (and bleach) down the drains at least once every two weeks. Clears any smell up instantly.
I had this exact problem in my store. I complained about it to the LL for over a year then threatened to hold the lease payment. They sent in a plumber and after about 2 hours of searching found the vent had been run into the attic but not through the roof. He finished the job and there has not been a problem since.
If regularly pouring bleach water down the floor drains doesn’t fix it, you can have the pipes power washed out by the grease trap guy. There may have been a backup somewhere along the way, that left residue behind…
Hot water and a cup of bleach down the sink will get of the smell for a couple days till you figure it out.
There should be a “P trap” in between the grease trap and any drain that opens up into the shop. A ‘P trap’ is a letter P shaped piece of pipe that always retains some water in it to act as a seal to block sewer gasses from coming up through the drains.
Click for more info on P Traps:
^This. The piece of PVC pipe costs less than a dollar and can resolve so many problems (at work or at home). Amazing how much money you can save on Drano just doing this simple replacement. I owned a bar before taking over this shop and had to replace a couple P-traps on urinals, I challenge you to find a more disgusting job. My dad, a retired contractor, told me while we were remodeling my new house: “When you hire a plumber, you’re not paying them for how hard the job is, you’re paying them for how bad it is.”
Thanks for all the suggestion,we have done the bleach thing and have been doing it for months…as for shop vac its a 1000 gallon tank with 3 heavy manholes covering them not to sure what i would vacuum up…We do have a plumber coming out this week this is the third one.
you folks realy know your stuff. you have given excelent information. There is nothing I can think of to add.
The smell is gone …who ever installed the urinal in the mens restroom kept running a screw in the wall that would hold it up but that person kept hitting the vent and making a hole.(there where like 5 holes in it). so when we ran the dishwasher this would come but now its gone so much better…thanks for the help