How MIFAB’s Grease Interceptors Provide a Superior Solution in Grease Collection

How HDPE is the new normal

When Bayer’s Plumbing out of Newburgh, IN needed a modern grease interceptor solution they turned to MIFAB’s almost 40 years of expertise to get the job done.

When MIFAB opened its doors in 1982 they had two products: access doors and interceptors. Today, interceptors are still a major part of the more than 14 division MIFAB brand. In 2010, MIFAB began getting requests for High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) interceptors. After some research, it seemed like the HDPE market made up a very small share but was rapidly growing. As a thought leader, it was a no brainer that MIFAB made the leap to HDPE. As of 2021, MIFAB has the largest selection of plastic grease and specialty interceptors in the US plumbing market today. 

So you may ask, why has this segment grown so quickly? It is because of two reasons, the MCAA contractor, and the local jurisdiction (grease authority). MIFAB has listened to your pain points in the field and have gotten to action.

The long-time local dining staple EMGE Deli in Evansville, IN needed a grease interceptor. The local jurisdiction was already forward-thinking and had been approving poly hydromechanical tanks. Bayer’s Plumbing put in a proposal with one of MIFAB’s interceptors from their HDPE line and was awarded the project.

Matt Pry, Project Manager for Bayer’s Plumbing, said that the MIFAB BIG-MAX 750 (75 GPM HPDE hydromechanical interceptor) product was the perfect fit.

“It is a good product, well-built, with a better than competitive price point. The generic corrugated riser pipe really is what put it head and shoulders above its competitors in this space. They cost less money and were way easier to install than traditional proprietary riser systems.”

So let’s peel back this onion and take a look. 

Why are jurisdictions moving away from traditional materials like steel and concrete to HDPE?

For concrete and steel interceptors, it’s not a question of if these units will fail, it is a question of when. Steel units are having an average life expectancy of seven years. Concrete units are having an average life expectancy of 12 years. Why is this? The EPA says that any material with a PH<5 needs to be neutralized, due to the corrosive effects of the acid in the waste. A grease interceptor will have a PH<5 within its first week of operation.

However, steel or concrete is not used for neutralization tanks. We use HDPE. So why put this grease-laden waste into a concrete or steel tank that is going to corrode? MIFAB’s HDPE grease interceptors have a lifetime warranty to ensure that the waste will not be going into the ground or passing into our sewer systems. Both of which can have a very detrimental effect on our environment and our sewer systems.

Why are jurisdictions moving away from gravity-fed interceptors and towards hydromechanical?

The key to a grease interceptor functioning properly is separation speed and capacity. Gravity-fed interceptors use time-based separation which means they take a lot of time for the grease to separate and float to the top of the tank. Hydromechanical units are flow-based, which means they use a flow control device at the inlet to slow the grease-laden material down so that it separates very quickly upon entering the tank.

Gravity-fed tanks must be pumped out when they are only a quarter full. This is known as the 25% rule. At 26% the unit will start passing grease into the sewer system – which is a huge problem and can result in large fines. With hydromechanical, the unit can almost be full and still have excellent separation. Effectively, a smaller hydromechanical unit has more capacity than a gravity unit. This helps the designer and the contractor as well because they do not need more space to install the larger tanks.

Why are contractors moving away from steel and concrete tanks?

Steel units can be difficult to handle and one can easily cut their hands if they are not careful. Inevitably, the seal on the interceptor will fail which allows waste and odors to escape into the kitchen resulting in a call back to the installing contractor.

Concrete tanks also pose even bigger coordinating issues. The contractor may need to rent a crane or schedule down to the hour when the boom truck will arrive. If the hole is not properly prepared the truck will leave but will still charge you for their time. For example, a typical 1,500 gallon concrete unit can weigh up to 15,000 lbs. On the other hand, a 1,500 gallon HDPE unit will only weigh around 1,500 lbs. These plastic units can be stored above ground on the jobsite and moved around easy with a fork truck or tow motor.

Finally, manhole risers have always been an issue because the contractor will generally not know the finished grade till the end of the project. Then they have to order custom height risers that are expensive with a long lead time. As we all know manpower/schedule are the single most important focus for a project manager. MIFAB has a patented riser system utilizing generic corrugated plastic pipe that can be cut-to-fit.  It is inexpensive and readily accessible from your local plumbing wholesaler.

There are many factors to consider when designing, sizing, selecting, and installing interceptors. The MIFAB sales, customer service and engineering teams are eager to help when the time comes.