Hospitality Industry Guide to Environmental Compliance in New York City
If you cook, serve food, and/or wash dishes, utensils, trays, or other items at your establishment, you are required to install and maintain proper grease interceptors, also known as “grease traps.”
Grease interceptors capture oils and grease from equipment such as food scraper sinks, pot wash sinks, woks, floor drains in kitchens, and other food preparation areas. Grease interceptors prevent oil and grease from clogging sewer lines, which can lead to sewage backups in your establishment and may require you to temporarily close your business.
Installing a grease interceptor
Only a NYC Licensed Master Plumber (LMP) is qualified to install grease interceptors. The configuration of your kitchen and the equipment you have will determine the proper sizing of your grease interceptor(s).
Your LMP, New York State Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or New York State Registered Architect (RA) can determine the proper size of your interceptors.
If your grease interceptors are not properly sized you may have to replace them, possibly costing your business several thousand dollars in expenses.
Learn more about grease regulations
Maintaining a grease interceptor
Proper maintenance and cleaning of grease interceptors is important to ensure that they work correctly. Make sure that you clean devices as frequently as required by the manufacturer. If you do not clean your grease interceptor as needed, it will not capture grease, and may result in a clogged sewer line that can lead to sewage overflows. You could also get a violation from us for not properly cleaning and maintaining your grease interceptor.
To clean the interceptor (if you do not have an automatic self-cleaning device):
- Remove the cover and scoop out any oil and grease that has collected on top.
- Remove all solid food, grease, oils, and debris that have settled at the bottom and sides of the interceptor.
- Discard this waste in a secure garbage bag and have it collected by a licensed NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC) private carter. Some licensed carters may also be qualified to clean your grease interceptors.
Used Cooking Oil (“Yellow Grease”)
Used cooking oil (UCO) must be recycled by a licensed BIC private carter. You should keep the receipts for your UCO pickups at your business establishment for at least one year. More information on licensed oil and grease haulers can be found here.
For more information on grease and other requirements please also see our video series.
For more information concerning any regulations affecting your business please visit us at nyc.gov/dep (see “Support for Businesses” on left side of page) or call 718-595-4436.