Grease interceptor requirements

What is grease?

Grease is a word commonly used to describe Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG).  FOG is found in common food and food ingredients such as dairy products, meat, fish, butter, cooking oil, mayonnaise, dressings, gravies, sauces, nuts, coffee beans and food scraps. 

Grease in the sewers

Grease build-up in sewers causes them to overflow potentially damaging homes, businesses and the environment.

When grease interceptors (or grease traps) are not properly maintained, grease from commercial kitchens goes into the sewer. Grease build-up in our sewers causes them to overflow, potentially damaging homes, businesses and the environment. At least $2.7 million is spent every year to deal with the effects of grease, including infrastructure maintenance and managing spills.

Requirements for grease interceptors

On October 26, 2012 we implemented a bylaw that establishes new maintenance requirements and limits on the amount of grease and solids that can flow out of grease interceptors and into sewers. Establishments that are not in compliance with those requirements may be subject to re-inspection fees and/or a fine.

What is a grease interceptor?

A grease interceptor (or grease trap) is a device that separates fats, oils and grease from wastewater and stops it from entering the sewer system. All commercial kitchens whose wastewater contains fat, oils and grease are now required by law to have a properly installed and maintained grease interceptor.

Installing a grease interceptor

A grease interceptor should be:

  • connected to any fixture that generates grease
  • properly sized - if it is too small it will fill with fats, oils and grease too quickly and will not do its job (use our online selection tool)
  • equipped with a sampling point so that the quality of liquids leaving the interceptor can be tested
  • accessible - so it can be inspected and so you can maintain it.

If you would like Metro Vancouver to review your proposal for installing and connecting fixtures to a grease interceptor please fill in the following form.

Grease Interceptor Installation Plan – Request for Review

Maintenance - what's required

The depth of fats, oils, grease and solids (combined together) must not be more than 25% of the total liquid depth of the grease interceptor.

Have grease interceptors fully pumped out by a waste management company:

  • when fats, oils, grease and solids are more than 25% of the total liquid depth OR
  • every 90 days (whichever occurs first).
  • Inspect all components that may affect its proper operation.

Wastewater leaving the grease interceptor should not exceed the regulation limits of:

  • 300 mg/L of oil and grease 
  • 600 mg/L of solids

This should not be a problem if the grease interceptor is properly maintained.

Don't use enzymes or other agents that will allow grease to pass through the grease interceptor and go into the sewer. Keep a record of inspection and maintenance activities. Have two years on hand and available for inspection. Have someone on site who can open the grease interceptor for inspection.

Non-compliance with regulations

Commercial kitchens that do not meet the regulations may be subject to re-inspection fees of up to $300. Certain violations - such as not having a grease interceptor - now carry a minimum fine of $2,000.

Information and assistance

If you operate or service a commercial kitchen, our staff can help you with the technical requirements of the regulation, including advice on installing and maintaining your grease interceptor. For more information contact us at 604-432-6200.