Both Fire codes NFPA and international fire codes require systems to not exceed .078 inches of grease accumulations. The cleaning frequencies are determined by the fire code requiring a properly trained and certified technician.
Foodservice operators are prohibited from cleaning their own kitchen exhaust systems unless they have been properly certified by the NFPA.
The Clean Water Act "establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters" (EPA).
Waste from Caustic Chemicals used to clean the grease from kitchen exhaust systems that is dumped down the sink or drain is - Per EPA and DOJ any grease or chemicals entering the municipal waste system is considered hazardous and is covered under the clean water act.
According to the EPA a pollutant is "any type of industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste discharged into water. Some examples are dredged soil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, cellar dirt and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste."
"These chemicals are the gold standard for industrial fats, oils and grease (FOG) cleaners... these chemical workhorses tend to be highly caustic, carcinogenic, or both. Definitions: Caustics, in our industry especially, tend to be strong bases that can cause severe burns to skin, eyes, and lungs. The severity of the potential burn increases with the concentration of the chemicals and will require immediate medical action when in contact with skin. Carcinogens are chemicals that are statistically shown to in- crease cancer risk. The risk increases with exposure." - Peter Rehage, Protein Matrix LLC and Uncle Oscar’s LLC IKECA Journal Fall 2014
You have two options:
1. Use a sustainability certified KEC servicer like PB Technology.
2. Ensure your current KEC servicer has the waste removed by a licensed waste servicer. This option is more expensive as it costs about $430 per hood for waste removal.
Yes! Both the owner and the service provider of KEC are liable for any violation of EPA codes as well as criminal liability.
Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have purchased pollution Insurance. Even with pollution insurance you are not immune from the liability of illegal hazardous waste dumping.
Pollution insurance "cover claims from third parties against bodily injury and property damage caused by hazardous waste materials released during a company's business operations."
- Jane Hunt, The Balance.
*Note: This does not constitute legal advice. Speak to your attorney and insurer to clarify waste management questions.