Grease build-up in drains is an unpleasant and hazardous problem. Washing undiluted grease down drains can have a knock-on effect on the drainage system, causing it to block up. Once built up, these types of blockages can be very difficult to remove.

The risks of damage to a drainage system posed by build-ups of grease and decaying organic fats in tanks, pipes and systems is not to be underestimated. The amount of grease that can collect makes it easy to see how build-up could contribute to serious plumbing woes and potential health implications.

If grease escapes into the sewer, it can cause a significant number of problems. We have all heard of ‘fatbergs’ that develop in sewerage systems. Vigilance and maintaining a regular cleaning routine are essential. It is very easy for this issue to develop on a smaller scale within domestic or commercial drains.

The only way to combat this greasy gripe is to use effective products and solutions that both combat grease before it builds up and effectively help to clear it when it has become a problem. Grease traps and lift stations are mechanical solutions that are commonly used in-order-to trap and prevent build ups of grease.

 A grease trap is a plumbing device designed to intercept most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater disposal system. Grease traps separate and capture waste grease and solids. The fact that the fat is filtered from wastewater before it enters the drainage system means they are good preventative measure in the fight against grease build up.

Grease traps consist of a large tank, water from the drain flows into the tank and settles. Solids sink to the bottom, while lightweight grease float to the top; leaving clear water in the middle. The water flows through to a second tank and discharges to the sewer system through a small pipe. Many have baffles or screens to trap debris and large chunks of material as they flow into the tank.

Lift stations work by pushing wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. The lift station pumps the wastewater through a pressurized pipe known as a force main, which at a higher elevation transports the wastewater to the ultimate discharge point.

Grease build-up is a common problem associated with both lift stations and grease traps. Both need to be regularly maintained in-order-to function to their full ability. Low volumes of grease can be treated with a degreaser but when it has built up the experts need to be called in.

When a significant layer of grease has accumulated a grease trap must be professionally cleaned out. Many types of grease and wax can solidify at low temperatures and form plugs in the line, forcing workers to clear the plumbing line after it starts to clog. It's therefore important to have a grease trap maintenance solution in place.

Lift stations can also block, grease can harden and cause floating "turtles" in the lift station. These can be difficult to break down and can easily clog pipe openings. These hardened grease deposits can cause serious problems if they make their way through the drainage system. Grease can also cause a scum layer to build up on the sidewalls of the lift station.

Significant grease build-up in lift stations reduces waste holding capacity and increases costs dramatically. If grease builds up on the float it will cause waste overflow and result in the breakdown of pumps. Strong odours can also be associated with a high build-up of grease, as waste accumulates and decomposes.

Lift stations with excessive grease build-up result in labour intensive cleaning and expensive pump replacements. Although workers may try to clear plumbing lines after they start to clog, cleaning a lift station can be dangerous; there is a risk of injury to workers and hydrogen sulphide gas build-up can occur. If lift stations are to be cleaned safely then professional experts must be called in.

For such jobs you need the services of drainage experts such as NCH. Our NCH Facilities division will take care of all your grease trap and lift station cleaning needs. Our advanced biological solutions will remove the build-up of FOG and eliminate odours in the process, allowing your drainage system to flow freely once again.

For more information on our expert grease trap and lift station cleaning solutions visit