Cleaning out a grease trap isn't something to look forward to, but it's necessary if you want to avoid bad odors and constant sewer system clogs. Instead of cleaning grease traps by hand, many people resort to using enzyme-based treatments in hopes of eliminating the fat, oil and grease (FOG) buildup within.
The Idea Behind Enzyme Treatments
As it turns out, enzymes are a common byproduct of bacterial activity. Although enzymes aren't living entities like the bacteria they come from, they do contain chemicals that help break down the various fats and proteins. This makes it a bit easier for other bacteria to consume organic material.
Enzyme-based treatments simply contain a large amount of enzymes to help break down the FOG inside your grease trap. Many treatments also contain bacterial additives to aid in the digestive process. The amount of time it takes to completely break down and consume FOG usually depends on the amount of enzymes and bacteria present, among other factors.
Understanding the Pros and Cons
There are a few benefits to using enzyme-based treatments for your grease trap. For starters, enzymes can help control and perhaps even eliminate noxious odors caused by decaying organic matter inside the grease trap. You can also use enzymes to help boost bacteria that are already present inside your grease trap. Last but not least, enzymes are an environmentally-friendlier option than using chemicals and detergents to clean your grease trap.
Using enzymes also has its fair share of downsides. No matter which enzyme treatment you use, you won't be able to eliminate every single trace of FOG from your grease trap. In some cases, enzymes can actually push liquefied FOG further into the sewer system where it can later reform into a hardened mass, causing blockages throughout your sewer system.
In some municipalities, you may not even be able to use enzyme treatments at all due to local regulations prohibiting such treatments. Ignoring those regulations could result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines and other penalties.
There's no denying that enzyme treatments offer a small benefit when it comes to grease trap maintenance. However, it's usually better to have your grease trap manually cleaned out by a trained professional. Not only can a professional offer a thorough grease trap cleaning, but your professional can also tackle other grease trap maintenance issues before they snowball into major and expensive problems.