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Water and Waste Department

Sewer by-law

Frequently asked questions about grease traps

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A grease trap (or interceptor) is a plumbing device that collects grease and prevents it from going down your drain. This device must be installed by a licensed plumber.

The City of Winnipeg Sewer By-law requires that all commercial, institutional, and food service preparation operations have a grease trap.

A grease trap protects your sewer and saves you money. Fat, oil and grease hardens as it cools and sticks to the inner lining of sewer pipes, eventually causing a blockage. By preventing grease from going down your drain, you won't have to spend money:

  • cleaning and disinfecting after sewer backup,
  • hiring a contractor to clean the buildup from your sewer,
  • repairing or replacing your sewer pipe if the blockage is severe.
  • Grease trap and sink photo and grease trap close up photoWastewater enters the grease trap from your sinks and dishwashers.
  • The water cools and the grease and oil harden and float to the top of the trap.
  • The rest of the wastewater flows through the trap and out the exit pipe to the sewer.
  • The grease, oil and fat remain in the trap.

The both do the same thing – collect grease and prevent it from going through your private sewer service pipe into the City sewer. They differ only in size and location. Grease traps are fitted to the plumbing inside a facility, usually under the sink, and grease interceptors are outside the facility a few feet under the ground and are very large.

A licensed plumber can determine which of these devices is best suited for your facility. They will consider the volume and flow rate of wastewater from your sinks, dishwashers and mop sinks to determine proper sizing.

Blockages will occur if the trap is not cleaned often enough. A grease trap which is not cleaned will eventually clog.

Yes. The ground up solids from food waste grinders (or garburators) settle to the bottom of the trap and take up room. The trap will clog up with grease more quickly and will need to be cleaned more frequently.

Grease traps back up either because they need to be cleaned or because an outlet is blocked. If you buy a large unit you will need to clean it less often because it will hold more grease. But all grease traps will clog if you don't remove grease regularly.

All grease traps will clog if you don't remove grease regularly

Clean under-the-sink grease traps weekly. If grease traps are more than 50% full when cleaned weekly, then clean them more frequently.

Yes. A grease trap not only collects grease, it removes fats and oils, such as:

  • fats from butter, margarine, shortening and mayonnaise,
  • cooking oil,
  • salad oil,
  • grease from cooking or baking.
  • Use dry paper towels or a spatula to wipe all grease and food waste from cookware into the garbage before washing in the sink or dishwasher.
  • Use strainers in your sinks to catch food waste. Empty the strainer into the garbage.
  • Put greasy foods in the garbage, not down the drain or in the food waste grinder.
  • Pour small amounts of cooking oil and grease into a container with a tightly sealed lid (e.g., coffee can, small ice cream pail) and once it hardens, put it out for regular garbage collection. Do not pour it down the drain.

Yes. The maintenance log is a record of how often you clean the trap and how full it is each time. It is required under the Sewer By-law to ensure that maintenance is performed regularly. The by-law also requires that the maintenance records for the previous 12 months be available for inspection.

Yes. Some businesses collect and reuse large amounts of cooking oil.

Yes. Under part 13, section 80, of the Sewer By-law, an owner could pay penalties of:

  • for a first offence, a fine of not less than $1000.00
  • for a second offence, a fine of not less than $2500.00
  • for a third offence, a fine of not less than $5000.00

In addition, the City can take remedial action at the owner's expense. As a result, the owner could be charged the following:

  • the cost of sewer cleaning to clear grease blockages,
  • the cost of correcting problems in neighbouring properties (e.g., sewer backup) as a result of violating the By-law requirement to have a properly functioning grease trap.

You can request a conditional waiver if there is no cooking or cleanup on site. We will review your operation to determine if a waiver is appropriate.

Contact 311

Hauled wastewater program

The Hauled Liquid Waste Facility at the South End Sewage Treatment Plan is now closed. Please take liquid waste to the North End Sewage Treatment Plant at 2230 Main Street for disposal.

A presentation about the South End Sewage Treatment Plant (SEWPCC) hauled wastewater facility closure was given at a town hall meeting held on May 31st, 2017.

Wastewater facility closures and changes

Why did the City decide to close the disposal facilities at the South End Sewage Treatment Plant (SEWPCC) and the West End Sewage Treatment Plant (WEWPCC)?
  • Having hauled wastewater at both facilities could put the new treatment process at risk:
    • The bacteria in the new treatment process are sensitive to sudden changes in wastewater concentration, and will not treat the wastewater properly if they're suddenly overloaded by hauled wastewater, which is stronger than the wastewater that comes from our sewer system.
    • If the bacteria can't treat the wastewater properly, then the treated wastewater that flows to the river wouldn't meet environmental standards and the treatment plants would be out of licence compliance.
  • The initial plans were to keep both North End and the South End Sewage Treatment Plants (NEWPCC/SEWPCC) open and to simply upgrade their disposal facilities. However, continuing to accept hauled wastewater at the South End Sewage Treatment Plant (SEWPCC) would pose too great a risk to the sewage treatment process.
  • The City was required by the provincial government to upgrade the plant to a biological nutrient removal process. This process relies on bacteria to remove the nutrients.
  • For more information:
Will there be any impact on the treatment processes at the North End Sewage Treatment Plant with the increased volume of hauled wastewater?
  • We do not anticipate an impact on the current treatment process or the future biological nutrient removal process.
  • The North End Sewage Treatment Plant is four times as large as the South End Sewage Treatment Plant and the process is therefore less sensitive to a sudden change from the hauled wastewater.
What improvements have been made to hauled wastewater disposal at the North End Sewage Treatment Plant?

The Hauled Wastewater Facility at the North End Sewage Treatment Plant was expanded with an additional disposal lane to accommodate the increased traffic from haulers. Modifications were also made to improve the reliability of the facility.

What is hauled wastewater?
  • a term for hauled sewage
  • all matter (liquid and solid) that is pumped out of septic tanks, holding tanks and tanks/interceptors from residential or non-residential (commercial/industrial) properties
  • raw and untreated
Who hauls wastewater?
  • companies that have special trucks that can empty the wastewater from onsite wastewater management systems (e.g., holding tanks, septic tanks, portable toilets) and transport it to a wastewater treatment facility
Where is the wastewater hauled to?

The hauled wastewater facility at the North End Sewage Treatment Plant (NEWPCC), 2230 Main Street.

Do you have wastewater disposal stations for recreational vehicles?

Yes, we have wastewater disposal stations open year round.

Fees

Disposal fee - Hauled Wastewater

Rates are effective January 1 of each year, unless otherwise noted

Type of Fee Charged to 2017 2018 2019
Hauled wastewater disposal fee
  • wastewater haulers
  • monthly
  • based on 100% of the
    wastewater hauler's tank capacity
$8.90/kilolitre $8.90/kilolitre $9.35/kilolitre
(effective
April 1, 2019)
Why does it cost more for haulers to dispose their hauled wastewater, compared to traditional sewer rates ?
  • Hauled wastewater is more concentrated than regular wastewater. The higher the concentration, the more costly the treatment.
  • The rate is also used to recover the capital and operating costs of the hauled wastewater disposal facility, located at the North End Sewage Treatment Plant.
If I'm a wastewater hauler, how do I apply for a licence?
  • haulers must obtain a licence from us for each vehicle that uses our disposal stations by contacting our Industrial Waste Services Branch
  • the licence fee is $154.00
How much does it cost to dispose a typical residential holding tank in Winnipeg?
  • A typical residential holding tank is 6.8 kilolitres in size.
  • At the 2019 rate of $9.35 per kiloliter, it costs $63.58 to dispose one residential holding tank at Winnipeg's Sewage Treatment Plant(s).
    • Haulers will charge additional fees to customers for transporting the waste and for their overhead costs.
How does Winnipeg's hauled wastewater fee compare to other cities?
  • A survey of 2017 hauled wastewater fees across Canada shows we have one of the lowest rates in the country.

Hauled Wastewater rates comparison by cities

Recreational vehicle sewage disposal facilities

Please be advised that the North End Sewage Treatment Plant (NEWPCC) Recreational Vehicle Sewage Disposal facility will be closed as of April 30, 2019 due to construction at the plant. Other parts of the facility remain open.

Alternative recreational vehicle sewage disposal facilities can also be found at sanidumps.com

We have one sewage disposal facility for recreational vehicles (RVs) which is open May through October.

South End Sewage Treatment Plant (SEWPCC)
100 Ed Spencer Drive
 - 24 hours
 - Drive-Thru loop
 - No water

There is no charge for recreational vehicles to use the sewage disposal facilities.

Owners of RVs do not need a licence to use the sewage disposal facilities.

Visit sanidumps.com for other recreational vehicle sewage disposal facilities in the Winnipeg area (Winnipeg locations are near the bottom of the page)

Map of South End Water Pollution Control Centre

Last update: September 5, 2019