Grease trap cleaning

We have this big, old, ugly masonry grease trap in the basement portion of the back porch. Over the past century it received all of the waste water from the kitchens. It also received roof runoff from the downspout. Both roof runoff and kitchen waste water exited the grease trap through the main sewer.


When we took a first look at the grease trap early last year, we found a big old stinking, gooey, gunky mess with big and small chunks of grease floating everywhere. Now a year later, it still is stinky, greasy, gooey and gunky. But now it’s time to do something about it – it’s time to clean the mess. Yum!

I got myself a small paint bucket, perforated it with small slots, screwed it onto a long stick and started scooping the all that deliciousness out of the basin. Once I had most of the goo removed, I dropped a small sump pump into the pit. That worked only for a short while, because the small floating gunk clogged the sump pump screen.

Fair enough. I went to the equipment rental place around the corner and got myself a small trash pump, which got the job done, and the basin was finally empty in no time. I now could remove the old incoming sewer lines and part of the rotten brick work.


We eventually will remove the grease trap and a sump pit for the footing drains that will take its place. But that has to wait until we get to the porch rebuild. For now, I need to have the storm sewer line temporarily terminate in the basin so that it can pick up the roof runoff.

We also will temporarily terminate the footing drains in the old basin, until we install the new sump pit.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

3 thoughts on “Grease trap cleaning

  1. I never imagined that your rehab would have to go to this amount of rebuilding. Did you? And is this your full time job now, or is it an evenings and weekends project? I’m so impressed with your thoroughness – and thanks for taking the time to document, share, and educate us.

  2. I got appreciate the full meaning behind rehab – rehabilitating a building. It is over a 100 years old, and it can easily serve another 100+ years – if we get the rehabilitation right. So, there is an ulterior motive to the thoroughness. And yes, this is my full time job.

  3. I agree with Gin, very nice work and thanks for sharing. I sort of dream of have the time and money to take on a similar project. One for myself mind you. If I may ask did you take out loans to fund your expenses for this or did you just have enough saving to do it after the purchase of the property?

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