Why does my grease trap smell?

As grease traps receive waste that goes down the kitchen sink, they can sometimes generate foul odors. Although its sometimes hard to determine whether it’s the grease trap that’s smelling, the smells from the grease trap are quite distinctive from septic odors as they contain decomposing food particles and grease.

Should my grease trap smell bad?

Although there are occasional odors from grease traps, your grease trap should not be continually smelling. In a healthy system, the grease trap receives waste from the kitchen sink, the food particles sink to the bottom and the fats which are lighter than water float on the top, and the baffles allow the liquids to flow out into the trenches or into the greywater tank, depending on the setup of your property. A grease trap is literally a trap for the fats and particles that go down the sink, so they need regular pump out to remove these items to prevent blockages in pipes or burnout of the greywater pump. To find out more information about how a grease trap works, visit our information page on Maintaining and Cleaning Grease Traps.

How can I stop my grease trap from smelling?

If your grease trap stinks, firstly identify exactly where the smell is coming from. Is it a bad smell wafting around outside? Is the smell coming up from the kitchen sink? Does it only stink around the actual grease trap?

There can be a variety of issues which cause grease traps to stink and finding the source of the smell can narrow down the how to solve the grease trap odor. Below are some of the main issues causing the grease traps to smell.

There is a bad odor coming up the drain in my kitchen sinkThe first cause of foul smells around the drain in the kitchen sink is if the tank is full and needs pumping out. In this case, please contact us to book in your grease trap pump out. Lee’s Environmental provide the highest quality grease trap pump out and clean on each occasion – please see our Grease Trap Cleaning page for more information.

If you’re already having your grease trap cleaned our regularly, but bad odors are coming up from the drain in the kitchen sink, it may be that there are food particles and fats in the pipes going to the grease trap or that there is a lack of moisture in the grease trap to dampen the smell. Start with the following method to remove the odor:

  • Fill the kitchen jug/kettle full of water.
  • Turn on the jug/kettle and let it boil
  • Pour the boiling water down the drain in the kitchen sink
  • Repeat if necessary

If the smell continues to be an issue, you will need to take further action. You can try:

Bad smells are coming from around the grease trap
If the stench seems to be coming from outside where the grease trap is located, there may be a hole in the grease trap lid or the grease trap lid may not be sealed properly. Lee’s Environmental can provide replacement of your lids – please visit our Maintaining and Cleaning Grease Traps page for more information.

My house has a septic system and there is a bad odor somewhere outside

If there is a bad smell wafting around but doesn’t seem to be coming up from the kitchen sink drain or from the grease trap outside, it may be something else on your property that smells. Most properties that have a grease trap also have a septic tank which receives waste from the toilet and greywater tank which receives waste from the laundry and showers. If you think one of these tanks may be causing the smell, please see our pages Why Does My Septic Tank Smell and Why Does My Greywater Tank Smell.

Another item that could causing odors to waft around outside, are the trenches. Trenches, also called distribution trenches, transpiration trenches or drain fields, receive the liquid parts of the waste from the septic tank, grease trap and greywater tank. If there are areas on your yard where grass is always growing prolifically or areas of your property that are always wet, this indicates that the trenches are saturated, blocked or have failed. If you’re experiencing trench problems, Lee’s Environmental offer high pressure drain cleaning called jet rodding which has an 85% success rate of clearing blockages. To find out more about this service, please see our Drain Cleaning page.

Can grease trap smells be prevented?

Most grease trap smells are preventable by being careful about what goes down the kitchen sink and by cleaning the tank regularly. Here’s our recommendation to keep your grease trap smelling great:

  • Use strainers in the sink
  • Wipe grease out of pans before washing
  • Don’t pour oils down the sink
  • Repair leaking taps
  • Don’t leave taps running unnecessarily
  • Have your grease trap pumped out on a regular basis – please see our Grease Trap Cleaning page for a recommendation of servicing frequency for your property

Lee’s Environmental offer regular scheduled servicing where we keep a track of when your property was last serviced and call you when its due again, so your grease trap is one less item you need to worry about. Our experienced and friendly staff provide a thorough clean on each occasion and we let you know if there’s any issues or repairs needed with the tank. For any further information or assistance please contact Lees Environmental today.

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