Grease Trap Vs Grease Interceptor: What’s the Difference in Blaine?

grease interceptorIf your business includes a commercial kitchen, then it most certainly has a grease trap or a grease interceptor. Most people are either unfamiliar with the latter, or they use the terms interchangeably. While the two may serve the same function, they’re not identical.

What Is a Grease Trap?

Let’s start with the more common grease trap. As you may know, a grease trap collects fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from cooking deposits. This prevents the solids from entering the plumbing system.

You can usually locate the grease trap directly under the sink. The size ranges from a shoe-box to a small refrigerator. The contraption is designed for low-flow plumbing, meaning it can handle plumbing pressure up to 50 gallons per minute.

What Is a Grease Interceptor?

A grease interceptor is for larger scale applications and can handle a flow rate exceeding 50 gallons per minute. Due to the heftier bulk, technicians have to install interceptors outside of the building rather than under the sink. They’re usually installed underground with access via a manhole cover. Grease interceptors are found in hotel restaurants and diners that serve on a nearly non-stop basis.

Cleaning Interval

Grease traps require more frequent cleanings since they have a smaller storage capacity. We recommend a cleaning about once a month. Grease interceptors require a cleaning every three months.

Of course, frequency is dependent on kitchen activity. As a rule of thumb, you need to clean grease traps and interceptors once they fill to one-fourth capacity. Blockages usually arise once traps and interceptors exceed this level.

We Clean Grease Traps and Grease Interceptors in Blaine

We pump grease traps and interceptors for businesses and conduct OSS inspections for residential septic systems. If you operate a food establishment in Blaine, contact Lil John Sanitary Services. Municipality codes require interval grease trap and grease interceptor cleaning. Contact us today for more information.

Grease Interceptor & Trap Cleanings for Blaine Businesses

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme.

Posted on October 29, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Advice About Septic Systems and Water Softeners for Everson Homes

septic systems and water softeners eversonResearch on the relationship between septic systems and water softeners goes as far back as the 1970s. The prevailing belief is that water softeners have a negative impact on the septic tank and drain field. Do the studies support this notion?

How Water Softeners Work

Water softeners remove mineral salts (usually calcium and magnesium) from water that can cause deposits in pipes and on flat surfaces. They provide your household with soft water and also prevent mineral buildup in the pipes.

Water softeners remove the mineral salts using resin beads. The water softener’s brine tank stores salt and adds water to the system to produce the brine. The salt water cleans the resin so the beads can do their job in a continuous cycle.

Do Water Softeners Damage Septic Systems?

The idea is that the brine discharge harms the beneficial microbes in the septic tank. This hampers the septic system’s ability to break down solids. The homeowner now needs to schedule more frequent septic tank pumping, or that’s the belief.

According to studies, water softeners not only do not harm septic systems, they actually help. The soft water contributes to septic tank performance. The sodium in the brine also aids in bacterial health.

Having soft water also means less use of abrasive soaps and detergents when bathing or doing dishes. Reduced use of detergents means less strain on the septic system. Chemical-based cleaners interfere with effluent breakdown.

Some homeowners also express concerns that too much brine discharge can overwhelm the drain field. However, studies show that water softeners produce no more water discharge than any other water-using appliance.

Septic System and Water Softener Tips for Everson Homeowners

Regardless of whether you use a water softener, the septic system requires regular OSS inspections. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services for septic tank pumping and grease trap cleaning. The correlation between septic systems and water softener is not a cause for alarm.

Septic Systems and Water Softener Experts near Everson

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

Posted on August 31, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Septic System Lifespan: How Long Do They Last in Lynden?

septic system lifespan LyndenDo you know your septic system’s date of installation? Many homeowners  in Lynden wonder about their septic system lifespan. Do you assume it will last as long as your house remains standing? 

The Typical Lifespan of a Septic System

We can’t really give you a solid figure regarding a system’s longevity because so many variables come into play. If we had to give you a number, we would say about 25 years, plus or minus 10 years. This is based on the factors we describe below.

Septic System Lifespan Factors

Septic systems undergo different degrees of stress, depending on the household activity. Do you regularly use the garbage disposal? How often do you do the laundry? A full family with multiple kids will subject a system to more stress than, say, a retired couple of two.

Even if the system does last roughly 25 years, that doesn’t mean those will be 25 years of trouble-free operation. Typically, homeowners only schedule a septic tank pumping or OSS inspection when they experience a problem. This is the wrong approach. To ensure maximum longevity and reliability, you should schedule regular maintenance yearly, or at least every two years.

Failure to conduct maintenance causes untreated solids to build up. Over time, this can damage the tank, the pipes, the leaching system and the distribution system. This could result in premature failure within as little as 10 years, even if the system is fairly new.

We Do Tank Pumping & Inspections

As the homeowner, you play a huge role in how long your septic system holds up. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services for maintenance. We also do grease trap cleaning and septic system work for facilities. Contact us today for a consultation.

Prolonging Your Septic System Lifespan in Lynden 

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

Posted on July 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Can You Clean Your Grease Trap Yourself in Ferndale?

clean your grease trap FerndaleTo keep your grease trap functioning at its peak in Ferndale, you need to empty it every now and then. Can you clean your grease trap yourself, or does this type of cleaning require a professional? We can’t provide a straight “yes” or “no” answer; consider the following variables.

You CAN’T Clean Your Grease Trap IF…

First, you need to know what kind of grease trap you own. Larger dining establishments and cafeterias usually have units which process between 500 and 2,500 gallons of grease. You will find these outside and right below a manhole cover on the company’s premises. Do you have the manpower, time, and resources necessary for cleaning out a grease trap of this monstrous size? In this scenario, you almost definitely need to hire a professional service company.

Smaller Establishments Probably Can, BUT…

Smaller establishments may have smaller units located inside the shop. DIY cleaning for these traps is far more manageable. However, even if you decide to go the DIY route, your county may require licensure. King County, for example, requires owners to have a Certificate of Competency. Some states require a septage hauler’s license.

Why so many hoops to jump through just to clean a grease trap? Improper grease trap maintenance can create serious sanitation issues. Our recommendation is to hire a professional. Most professional cleaners have the certification, expertise and equipment to handle grease traps of all sizes.

Besides, as a restaurant owner, your priority should be providing high-quality food and excellent dining service. Leave the elbow grease to us.

We Service Grease Traps in Ferndale

Besides services grease traps, we also pump out septic tanks and perform on-site sewage inspections. Contact  Lil John Sanitary Service for your next scheduled grease trap maintenance. This ensures the job is done right on the first go. Cleaning your own grease trap is doable, but is it worth the hassle?

We Clean Your Grease Trap For You in Ferndale Eateries

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme.

Posted on June 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

What Are the Advantages of Septic Pumping and Maintenance?

Advantages of Septic Pumping Bellingham
When was the last time you scheduled a septic pumping? Neglecting routine maintenance can cause problems down the road. As you’ll see, the advantages of septic pumping go well beyond clog prevention.

Advantages of Septic Pumping at a Glance

With respect to septic upkeep, homeowners tend to have an ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ mentality. Since your septic system is almost completely hidden, the only time you’re aware of it is when there’s a problem. Regular pumping keeps the system healthy and your water clean. A backed-up septic could potentially contaminate the freshwater supply. Maintenance keeps bacteria and other harmful substances out of your water. 

Regular Pumping Prevents Odors

A properly running septic system disposes wastewater into the leach/drain field. If the system backs up, waste can overflow into the soil, creating boggy and unsanitary areas. Sewer gas, methane and ammonia gas from household waste, emanates from this boggy soil, which smells terrible.  Keeping your system maintained prevents this back up from occurring.

Increases Property Value

If you’re putting your home on the market, you can bet the septic system’s health will influence the property value. Home buyers do not wish to inherit a house with a septic system in disarray. A real estate agent evaluating your home will most certainly recommend OSS inspections to boost property value.

Septic Mainenance for Bellingham Homes

Your septic system needs regular maintenance. iI your property is connected to a septic system rather than to the municipal sewer line and you want to be sure it’s in good working order, contact  Lil John Sanitary Services We cannot overstate the benefits of septic pumping. We also clean grease traps for Bellingham businesses.

Advantages of Septic Pumping for Bellingham Residences

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

Posted on May 30, 2020 |Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

septic system do’s and don’tsUsing your septic system correctly is an important part of keeping your home running smoothly. When it’s working properly, the septic system runs in the background, so you probably don’t give it much thought. If it backs up, though, no one in your household is going to be happy until the problem is fixed. Knowledge of a few critical do’s and don’ts will help you keep your septic system working properly.

Important Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

Do familiarize yourself with the location of your septic system and the drain field. Either make a sketch or take photos of it when you have it pumped out.

Don’t plant anything over or close to the septic system or the drain field, except grass. Tree and shrub roots can migrate over to the drain lines, potentially leading to clogs and damage.

Do place cooking grease into a container so that it can harden. Then throw it out in the garbage.

Don’t dispose of cooking grease by pouring it down the kitchen drain or the toilet.

Do stagger your water use throughout the day and the week. Install a low-flow shower head and an aerator in your kitchen sink.

Don’t use the washing machine, dishwasher, shower and toilet at the same time.  It can put a strain on your septic system. If you’re doing laundry, the best strategy is to do a couple of loads each day, rather than saving it up and doing several loads in one day.

Do have any leaks from your faucet or toilet repaired promptly.

Don’t use any additives in your septic tank. They don’t perform as advertised and may even damage your septic system.

Do have your septic system inspected each year. Have it pumped out every three-five years, on the schedule recommended for the type of system you own.

Do contact a licensed sanitary service contractor if you have any questions or concerns about your septic system. Don’t ignore signs that you have a problem.  These can be a foul smell, slowdown in your toilet plumbing, wet ground over your septic tank or gurgling in your pipes. Our technicians are skilled at grease trap cleaning, certified OSS Inspections.

Do Use Our Service for Your Maintenance Needs

Lil’ John Sanitary Service is your expert source for septic system inspections and pump-outs. Contact us to schedule a service call today.  Our services also include portable toilets.

Depend on Us For Septic System Do’s and Don’ts

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, & Acme

Posted on April 29, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Septic System and the Environment: Is There a Connection?

septic system and environment, septic systemIs a septic system an environmentally friendly solution to how to handle wastewater? In other words, what’s the connection between a septic system and the environment, if any? Let’s explore the correlation.

Septic System and the Environment: Exploring the Link

Here’s the deal: provided that you adhere to regular septic tank pumping, the septic system has no adverse environmental effects. In fact, septic tanks are actually a green solution since they rely on natural anaerobic bacteria to break down the waste. This is a stark contrast to municipal sewer systems that use chlorine and harsh chemicals for treating wastewater.

When Septic Systems Harm the Environment

If your septic system is failing, it’s a whole different story. Failing systems release untreated wastewater into the environment, contaminating the groundwater. This can be a major issue for systems located near bodies of water. Furthermore, wastewater release can lead to serious health concerns, such as dysentery and hepatitis.

That’s not all; the improperly treated wastewater contains nitrates. Nitrates in water supplies lead to algae growth, in turn releasing toxins that pose a threat to people and wildlife.

The Solution

The key is prevention. To ensure proper filtration of effluent, schedule a regular OSS inspection. A technician can determine whether the system is releasing wastewater into the soil. Plus, the checkup detects potential problems in their early stages before they grow.

In addition, homeowners should take active measures not to overwhelm the system. You should not, for example, do multiple loads of laundry back-to-back. Likewise, occupants should not take a shower one after the other.

We Inspect Septic Systems for Problems

Similar systems like grease traps and portable toilets also do not pose an environmental risk as long as they’re well maintained. Contact Lil John Sanitary Services for routine inspections. This ensures that risks to the septic system and the environment are kept to an absolute minimum.

Certified Residential Septic System Inspections

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Buying a Home with a Septic System: A Good Idea or Not?

septic systemSome homebuyers are put off when they discover that a home for sale has a septic system. There appears to be a notion that these properties are inferior to one connected to a city sewer line. Let’s clear the air about whether or not it’s a good idea to buy a home with a septic system?

The Truth About Buying a Home with a Septic System

As a septic system company, we clearly have a bias toward septic systems. However, it would be untruthful to say that homes with a septic system are better. The truth is that it’s neither better or worse. It comes down to personal homeowner preference.

Let’s examine the factors in which a septic system can add or detract from the value of the property for sale.


If the septic system is in disarray, then repairs or a whole replacement can be costly. Request for an OSS inspection or see the paperwork to verify that an evaluation was completed recently. When we say inspection, we mean from an actual septic system service. A general valuation from a real estate agent doesn’t cover this.

Water Conservation

With a septic system, you will have to be more mindful of water use to prevent overburdening the drainfield. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. It forces you to monitor water usage. On the flip side, this also helps you save water.

Cost Savings

In most instances, you save money in monthly sewer fees. Provided you take good care of the system, you only pay for the annual or bi-annual septic system pump.

We Inspect Septic Systems for Home Buyers

Leave it to Lil John Sanitary Service to inspect the septic system of a prospective property. We evaluate septic tanks and grease traps on a day-to-day basis. Buying a home with a septic system can be a huge plus, but only if it’s well maintained.

Septic System Inspection for Homebuyers

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

The Truth About Mulch and Septic Systems

mulch and septic system, drainfield mulchYour septic system’s drainfield requires special care. Most homeowners know, for instance, not to plant deep-root trees and shrubs in the drainfield. But you might not know that mulching can also be a problem. Most experts say that laying mulch on a septic system drainfield is not a good idea.

Mulch and Septic Systems Are not an Ideal Combination

Next to planting deep-rooted plants, mulch is the least septic-friendly landscaping practice. As a general rule, you should avoid mulching directly over the drainfield. Mulch inhibits the treatment system’s oxygen flow that’s needed for the filtration of effluent. When there isn’t sufficient oxygen, the bacteria cannot break down solid waste. This can lead to a backup requiring a septic tank pumping.

Mulching Around the Foundation

In no way are we suggesting that you avoid mulching altogether. We actually recommend mulching around the perimeter of your home. The mulch absorbs moisture that would otherwise make its way into your foundation, leading to erosion of the concrete.

It’s when you mulch directly over the septic system’s drainfield that the problem arises. The extra moisture retention strains the system, especially after a rain spell. Mulch absorbs the rainwater, which then has to be filtered through the drainfield. This is the same reason why homeowners are advised to avoid doing loads of laundry back-to-back. The excess water taxes the system too much at one time.

Improving Drainfield Aesthetics

You can improve the drainfield’s appearance without mulch. You can plant grass and other shallow-root vegetation over the field. This is also functionally beneficial as it improves oxygen exchange and prevents the build-up of excess soil moisture.

We Service Your Septic System

We recommend an OSS inspection as part of a 2020 initiative. The same goes for grease trap cleaning for business owners. Call Lil John Sanitary Services if you have been holding off regular pumping and/or inspections. Remember, be mindful that mulching and septic systems don’t go hand-in-hand.

Residential Septic System Maintenance

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme

Recognizing a Grease Trap Emergency

grease trap emergency

All grease traps need to be pumped out eventually, no exceptions. However, what separates routine maintenance from an emergency? With the latter, when is a situation so urgent that it needs emergency grease trap service?

Grease Trap Is Overflowing

If the grease trap is overflowing, that is an emergency that requires priority servicing. Overflowing grease can seep onto the floors and walls, creating an environmental hazard. You’ll need to have the grease trap pumped ASAP. Fortunately, this can be prevented easily with routine scheduled maintenance.

We recommend a cleaning every three months. Aside from being a preventive measure, it also ensures that you’ll remain within municipal compliance. Most cities impose fines for failure to maintain the grease trap.

Clogged Grease Trap

Before a grease trap overflows, it may exhibit signs of being clogged. Much like a household sink, your commercial sink may drain more slowly, or water may pool without fully going down.

A clog also puts the facility at risk of a grease trap fire. As a safety precaution, refrain from using any heating-related appliances and do not use the water until emergency services arrive.

Foul Odors

A bad smell from the direction of the grease trap doesn’t necessarily mandate an urgent response. However, if the odor is bad enough, it can spread to the dining area and offend patrons. It can also affect employees and possibly make them sick, hampering their performance.

The smell of old grease and food scraps, by the way, doesn’t smell like freshly prepared food. Some have described the smell as noxious.

Avoid Emergency Grease Trap Servicing

Requesting an impromptu grease trap pumping is never desirable and can hurt business operations. Grease Trap care is part of our Septic tank pumping and OSS inspections. Avoid emergency grease trap servicing altogether by calling Lil John Sanitary Service.

Commercial Grease Trap Maintenance

Serving Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Everson, Deming, Lummi Island, Nooksack, Blaine, Whatcom & Skagit Counties, Maple Falls, Bow Birch Bay, Custer, and Acme