Using a grease trap for your food business

If you run a commercial kitchen or food business that produces greasy waste, you must install a grease trap on your premises.

Grease traps stop fats, oils and solids getting in to your sewer or septic tank during:

  • food preparation
  • cooking
  • cleaning.

Who needs a grease trap

You need a grease trap if you run any of the following:

  • restaurant
  • fast-food outlet
  • supermarket
  • butcher
  • bakery including cake decorators
  • cafe
  • takeaway store
  • care centre.

When to check your grease trap

Over time, fat builds up in your grease trap and must be removed.

You must get your grease trap inspected regularly.

This depends on the:

  • size of the grease trap and
  • amount of food preparation that produces fats.

If your grease trap connects to the sewer, it must be an approved product that meets Power and Water (PW) guidelines.

Find out more on the PW website.

How to check your grease trap

There are some checks you can carry out to help maintain your grease trap.

Check the structure

You should check the structure for signs of the following:

  • gaps in the lid that insects or mammals can squeeze through
  • cracks or chips in the lid or on the walls
  • decayed internal walls
  • missing baffle plates.

Check for rodent activity

Grease traps make a good shelter for rodents. You should check around the grease trap for signs of rodent activity.

Plumbing fittings that connect to the grease trap can provide a way for rodents to enter the building.

You should also check if the grease trap is level. Rodents digging out underneath can disrupt the foundations and make the grease trap slant over.

This can lead to problems including:

  • causing the grease trap to short circuit
  • blocked drains
  • overflows.

Check for strong smells

All grease traps smell bad when the surface is disturbed. When the lid is down it should not be overly powerful.

If there is a powerful smell with the lid down, you should get it cleaned out.

You should also get advice from your contractor about the condition of your grease trap

Clean your grease trap

You must get a licensed waste handler to clean out your grease trap.

Find a list of licensed waste handler in the NT on the NT Environment Protection Authority website.


Contact PW's trade waste department by calling 1800 245 092 or emailing

Last updated: 30 November 2020

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