What can I do about it?
First, determine whether the odor is coming from somewhere outside or inside.
While this may seem straight forward, it usually isn’t. The majority of the time the smell is not coming from the grease trap! It is important to determine where and when the odor occurs. Is the smell inside or outside? Is it near the bathrooms or near the kitchen? Is it close to a wall or near a corner? Does the smell occur only in the morning, afternoon, dinner, or constantly?
Is the smell really coming from the grease trap?
If the smell is inside your facility, the grease trap not to blame. More likely, you have a dry p-trap in one or more of your floor drains, a cracked or loose vent pipe, or a poorly balanced venthood system.
How do I fix my inside odor problems?
There a couple of quick fixes you should try before you spend any money.
First, pour a gallon of water into each of your floor drains in all bathrooms and the kitchen. This will probably solve most issues. The water acts as a barrier and prevents sewer gasses inside the drain lines from backing up into your facility. If the water evaporates and a gap forms, sewer gas immediately starts filling the room. Once the drain is filled back up with water, the odor should go away immediately.
Second, if the smell occurs when a toilet is flushed or water is running, you probably have a cracked, broken, or loose vent pipe also check for a wobbly toilet as you may need a new wax seal. These areplumbing issues and you need to call your plumber. If you don’t have one, give us a call and we’ll refer you to some reputable companies.
Third, this is where the timing question comes in. If you only get a smell when your kitchen is in production you may have a problem with your venthood return air system. Your venthood is designed to suck out smoke and heat from your stoves. A properly balanced system pushes in outside air at the same rate it vacuums out heated air from your kitchen. If it is not balanced and exhausting too fast, a vacuum results, which then pulls air (and odors) from everywhere, including your bathrooms and drains. If this is happening, when guests enter your facility, an exaggerated breeze of air will come in with them. Your venthood service company should be able to adjust this pretty quickly. If you do not currently have a good company, call us and we’ll be glad to refer you to reputable companies.
It’s outside. It must be my trap, right?
Tracking outside odors can be a little more challenging, and may require you to become a “stink connoisseur” of sorts. Surprisingly, the dumpster is more frequently to blame than the grease trap. Verify that your can is being dumped at the appropriate frequency and that it occasionally gets washed out.
Less likely but still frequent culprits, are plumbing problems originating from the city lines. Check with your city’s information line or plumbing department to verify any existing city backups. Backups downstream from your facility can force sewer gas out of a manhole close by. If that is the case, your only remedy is to hope the odor self-corrects once the issue has been resolved. If it doesn’t, then complain, complain, complain to the city about the noxious odor and hope they can address the issue. Storm sewers are also known to periodically emit noxious odors.
However, if the odors are definitely coming from your trap, the only remedy is to pump the trap out, thoroughly pressure washing the walls and sample well. If strong odors still emanate from it after thorough cleaning, install vapor barriers. They are very effective at stopping the odors!
I hope your questions have been answered and you’re on the way to eliminating troublesome odors! Please let me know if you have any other questions or problems, and if these suggestions proved helpful to you!
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