This month’s case study has several unique learning points for our clients. If you have been following our case study series, you know that we work closely with our distributors to deliver perfect solutions for all rooftop grease containment needs. One of our philosophies is not only to create products that will help keep people safe, but we also like to actively be a part of the safety-creating process.

Our case study for the month will center around this one photo:

Let’s tackle this issue from the top down. First, this rooftop contains no certified grease containment system, as you can see at the top where the grease comes out on the angled panel. The NFPA 96 explicitly states the following: Rooftop termination shall be arranged with or provided with the following: (4) The ability to drain grease out of any traps or low points formed in the fan or duct near the termination of the system into a collection container that is noncombustible, closed, rainproof, and structurally sound for the service to which it is applied and that will not sustain combustion.

By this photo, we know that this particular rooftop grease containment system is open, making it impossible to be rainproof, and is not structurally sound for servicing. Containers such as these can cause several issues for the roof, building, and safety of the business team and service team. By not being rainproof and covered, the contents of the receptacle can spill out onto the roof with any kind of heavy or prolonged rain.

Even if this giant grease pool was maintained by a service professional, how would they begin to remove the greasy concoction? Bail it out with a bucket like a rowboat overflowing with water? It would take hours of backbreaking effort to tackle such a large container. Then, how and where would they properly dispose of this mess? It would be impossible, making this a clear, nonviable solution.

If the contents were to spill out onto the roof, it could cause several issues. For one, with the mixture of grease and rainwater, the grease mixture could cause erosion of the rooftop. Roofs are costly and hard to repair. Not only does it cost the labor and materials to rebuild the roof, but it also costs you days in business where you could be open. If erosion didn’t happen immediately, it is possible for the grease mixture to leak through the roof and into your place of business. This would also make your business inoperable for a period of time.

If the grease mixture was allowed to spill over onto the roof, it would also make the rooftop extremely unsafe for anyone walking up there. People who service your rooftop and exhaust fan need a safe environment to work in to do their job correctly, not to mention it’s important to keep all people safe. Plus, the NFPA 96 also states: Upblast fans shall have a drain directed to a readily accessible and visible grease receptacle not to exceed 3.8 L (1 gal). As we can all see by this photo, this receptacle far exceeds the required 3.8 L of liquid.

Even if the overflow of grease mixture didn’t cause damage to your rooftop, you could be subject to some heavy fines not only by the EPA, but by other local, state, and federal government agencies assigned to protect people and the environment. Overflow like this is bound to enter storm drains and cause ecological havoc on the environment. When grease flows into nature, it can restrict water flow and prevent aeration to roots, killing the plants and wildlife. Also, uncontained grease runoff can leech into the surrounding water table which will eventually pollute lakes, rivers, and streams.

If it were to enter the storm drain, there are a few things that could happen. First, it could cool in the drain and stick to the plumbing, causing blockage of flow of water. The grease can also cool prior to making it to the storm drain, making the pavement or sidewalk slippery and dangerous for anyone walking over it. The EPA can fine you up to $10,000 per offense for not disposing of grease from your restaurant properly.

The best way to fix this rooftop is to install a proper grease containment system, suited with a perfect hinge, and this particular roof would benefit greatly from a hefty dose of Grease Away™. We can help come up with solutions for any rooftop grease containment problems. Contact one of our representatives to discuss your needs.

Our Other Case Studies:

Case Study: The Pickle Bucket

Case Study: The Tapered Duct

Case Study: Grease Overload

Case Study: Damaged Fan Base

Case Study: The Micro-Hinge