Restaurant Compliance: Maintaining Your Trade Effluent Licence

Managing a restaurant is hard.

Having worked in a variety of roles from fast food to fine dining, I found that no matter the size or the star, ensuring that your commercial kitchen is compliant is one of the most difficult aspects of running a restaurant.

A conveyor belt of new, often inexperienced, staff makes adhering to the many industry rules and regulations extremely time-consuming and operationally intensive. The focus of any successful restaurant must be on the customer and providing an optimal experience. However, the long-term health of your business is dependant on you implementing procedures which streamline your operations.


Non-compliance is one of the most common areas in which restaurants gain fines and lose customers.


Fat, oil and grease compliance is one issue which has come to the fore across the globe in recent years. We saw this in Ireland with the introduction of the effluent discharge licence which outlined a new set of requirements for food service establishments (FSE) in the country. Typically trade effluent in the hospitality sector would contain everything from fats, oil, and grease (FOG)  to detergents and food waste. In fact, trade effluence covers pretty much everything other than domestic wastewater and stormwater.



Trade effluent requirements

If you are operating an FSE in Ireland you know that you are required to install and maintain a grease trap in your commercial kitchen. While maintaining your grease trap is not one of the most exciting elements of your day to day operations, it will quickly become your biggest problem unless cleaned regularly.

Not only will you be breaking the terms of your trade effluent licence, but FOG will block up your pipes which can lead to spills from drains beside your premises.

With inspectors continually monitoring your FOG disposal throughout the year you cannot afford to neglect your requirements. The good news is that the frequency of these visits is predetermined at the beginning of the year and is typically carried out in accordance with the conditions of your discharge licence.

You need to have onsite records of your weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance and removal of waste oil along with any desludging operations carried out. You must also retain the name and address of the service provider who cleaned your exhaust filters.