Are bacterial/enzyme drain or grease trap treatments illegal in some places?

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I'm trying to do research on how to maintain my drains. I see a lot of places selling assorted enzyme and/or bacterial treatments, including bacteria that are selected to produce enzymes as they try to consume waste. However, I saw something claiming that most of these treatments are illegal in Canada and possibly in parts of the United States. The claim was that they may temporarily liquify these wastes but then they might re-solidify downstream, including at wastewater treatment plants. http://www.greasetrap.ca/enzymes.htm I can't find anything stating that it's illegal in my area. I see plenty of treatments sold at Home Depot and Lowe's that say they're suitable for grease traps, although I think the idea is that it makes it easier to clean. I also found that Amazon has its own enzyme treatment. However, it's a little bit different in that it's a universal enzyme treatment for more than just drains. They're claiming that it helps to reduce pet odors, similar to products like Nature's Miracle. https://www.amazon.com/AmazonCommercial-Multi-Purpose-Enzyme-Cleaner/dp/B07XQB9YL4 [Linked Image from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com]
 
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Are you talking about standard home plumbing drains that run straight into city sewer?
 
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Originally Posted by Reddy45
Are you talking about standard home plumbing drains that run straight into city sewer?
In general yes. The link I read was from a grease trap seller in Canada, so I guess they have their own motives. They claimed that it was illegal to directly use bacterial or enzyme treatments in grease traps and drains. I've seen plenty of recommendations for enzyme/bacterial treatments from plumbers in the United States, but haven't seen anything that prohibits their use. Looks like grease trap treatments in Canada are marketed as providing specific conditions that promote the growth of bacteria that will produce enzymes, but that don't specifically contain bacteria and/or enzymes.
 
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Originally Posted by edwardh1
call your local sewage plant and ask
Can't find anything from my local sewer district. However, they only provide the sewage transport infrastructure and the water district does the actual treatment. There are some research papers that say something about my water district using enzymes at the plant, but it doesn't say anything about the legality of using them upstream. Most of these product descriptions don't just claim that they liquify the waste, but that bacteria consume and convert it into something that will no longer clump. Once I lived in a city with its own water and sewer system and asked about the legality of dumping used antifreeze in the drain. I was told that I wasn't supposed to do it, but that a few gallons wouldn't be easily tolerated by the treatment plant. I don't know if it was a hint to just do it and don't worry about it, but I ended up dropping my used antifreeze at a household hazardous waste processing facility.
 
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I have used the hottest water I can get to that area, whether its from a hose, or from a pot over a fire. Hot water always melts out grease.
 
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Originally Posted by Linctex
I have used the hottest water I can get to that area, whether its from a hose, or from a pot over a fire. Hot water always melts out grease.
That's what the plumber asked for as he was snaking out my cleanout to the main sewer line. Hot water from the sink kept on flowing through that line. Also - I figured out the deal here with commercial grease traps. Obviously, I don't have a grease trap. I guess they're designed to intercept grease before they enter the sewer system, but that's for restaurant quantities of grease. I guess if an enzyme or bacterial treatment is used, it could just liquify all that grease which will then just bypass the trap. But for a home I'm not sure this is all that critical.
 
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I have used hot water as well along with some dish detergent. If you have a dishwasher and run it regularly then there should be no problem. If you produce more than the average amount of grease then collect it in a can and dispose of it in the garbage.
 
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If they sell it then it is legal in your municipal. You are in California aren't you? Personally I won't drain grease into the sewage but if it is already there, my parents always use dry laundry detergent and hot water + a toilet plunger to plunge it as far as possible. Basically, fill up the drain with dry laundry detergent, pour boiling water from a kettle right on top until it is just melted completely, then start plunging and gradually add more boiling water.
 
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Originally Posted by PandaBear
If they sell it then it is legal in your municipal. You are in California aren't you? Personally I won't drain grease into the sewage but if it is already there, my parents always use dry laundry detergent and hot water + a toilet plunger to plunge it as far as possible. Basically, fill up the drain with dry laundry detergent, pour boiling water from a kettle right on top until it is just melted completely, then start plunging and gradually add more boiling water.
I don't intentionally dump cooking oil/grease in my drain, but sometimes it's difficult to avoid a little oil going down the drain when washing dishes. I try to pour large quantities into used paper towels in my trash. I suppose I could use a dishpan and pour the graywater in my yard, but that seems a bit inconvenient and excessive. My problem right now isn't with any of my sink drains per se, which are functioning well. If I need to clear them I'll use a drain snake. My problem is the 2" sewer line going a long way from my laundry room floor to the main sewer. That''s likely got a lot of grease that accumulated over the years from the kitchen sink.
 
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Had a severely clogged drain. Upstairs bathroom sink. Opened the trap and found the usual: Make-up and hair all within 9" of the drain stopper. Reassembled and had no flow at all. Snaked repeatedly and got nothing, not even wetness. Drain man failed and suggested enzymatic cleaner at a specific seller. Seller claimed not to know what I was talking about Suggested "GLUG" Hercules prod.#20410 20 oz. jar od Sodium Hydroxide Followed directions and it worked. I believe the enzyme stuff is "weapons grade" and they're reluctant to sell it. Maybe you need a "plumber's safety permit" to buy it in NJ?
 
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I think "weapons grade" is a product called Liquid Fire-containing mostly sulfuric acid, it will eat through just about anything. It's always a good idea to follow with a box of baking soda when you're through to neutralize the acid before it eats the pipes!
 
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Just as an aside, I've been reading about several "experiments" where a drain bacteria/enzyme treatment was tested in a jar to see how it might dissolve stuff. One was someone who placed some sort of grease in a jar but claimed it did nothing. Of course these don't test real world conditions inside a drain where there's water flowing by often after the bacteria establish themselves on grease/sludge.

So I tried it with a small container where I tossed in some scraped off butter and a little piece of bread. Then a few drops of Zep Drain Defense liquid. The bread was dissolved quickly but the butter wasn't. I thought maybe the butter wasn't being affected at all. However, I checked it again after several days and the butter was very different. It was very soft (softer than room temp and didn't feel greasy at all. I'm guessing that if it was attached to my drain pipes and exposed to the treatment, that it would have likely been washed away by drain water after softening up.
 
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Enzymes will turn fat and grease into water-soluable matter that in theory can be released into the waste water system. The municipalities will tell you that a) a grease trap isn't a bioreactor though and b) plus not every product works the same, the user might not use it properly, and so on and on. Because of this, the municipality is going to (still) require that your grease trap be cleaned/pumped out on a routine basis.
 
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Enzymes will turn fat and grease into water-soluable matter that in theory can be released into the waste water system. The municipalities will tell you that a) a grease trap isn't a bioreactor though and b) plus not every product works the same, the user might not use it properly, and so on and on. Because of this, the municipality is going to (still) require that your grease trap be cleaned/pumped out on a routine basis.
I don't think most residential homes have grease traps, although there might be large ones that have them. Maybe a home where a lot of people are entertained.

The way I heard it described, the ideal product would contain both bacteria and enzymes, although some contain just bacteria. Without the bacteria to consume the stuff broken down by the enzymes, it would probably result in loosening the the waste where it would just solidify further down the line.
 
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No homes have grease traps (okay, there may be a few exceptions....). You referred to grease traps and I was only explaining the action of enzymes on organic matter.

And yes, a product that contains bacteria and enzymes will be far superior to one that only contains bacteria. It will cost more though. A bacteria-only product can be pretty cheap....
 
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No homes have grease traps (okay, there may be a few exceptions....). You referred to grease traps and I was only explaining the action of enzymes on organic matter.

And yes, a product that contains bacteria and enzymes will be far superior to one that only contains bacteria. It will cost more though. A bacteria-only product can be pretty cheap....
One of the manufacturers I researched said that it only had bacteria and didn't load it with enzymes. So the bacteria will eventually produce enzymes (and that's really how all the waste really gets cleaned out) but having the "starter" enzymes gives it a head start where the bacteria already have their dinner cooked. The original enzymes will inevitably be washed away, but the remaining bacteria should be self-sustaining for some time. There's probably going to be a die off of the bacteria (including most the waste washing away as it's digested) but that's why re-treatment is needed.

As for homes with grease traps, I was thinking mansions or large homes that have huge parties. You know - the kind of place with a kitchen large enough that a party host can hire kitchen staff. The last thing any homeowner wants is a main sewer line that's blocked. I've been there.
 
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