Customer Story

Family Italian Restaurant

Customers create a stink about failed interceptor

Aromatic herbs and spices. Garlic bread baking in the oven. Nothing piques our interest or speaks to our stomachs quite like whiffs of what’s cooking.

Now imagine a kick of pungent vinegar. Rotten eggs permeating the air. Foul odors can have the exact opposite effect on our appetites. Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that creates an overpowering sulfuric stench. Depending on the time of exposure and the concentration, H2S can irritate the eyes, nose and throat or trigger more serious ailments, such as headaches, vomiting and difficulty breathing. It can quite literally sour any business.

Unfortunately, this reality plagues many restaurants, including a Florida location of a popular Italian chain. Restaurant goers and employees began to notice the odor lingering around the business and nearby neighborhoods. “Our goal is not only to have a clean, safe restaurant both for our employees and our guests, we also want to be a good neighbor...these odors were repulsive,” the restaurant manager said.

While fettuccini and lasagna permeated the inside of the establishment, the outside was nowhere near as enticing. It became evident that the bad egg was a failed interceptor. The hardest part to swallow was that the restaurant actually followed city regulations. The restaurant had installed the concrete grease interceptor up to code years back.

Concrete condemned to corrode

Hydrogen sulfide develops from bacteria inside a hostile interceptor environment. Concrete system’s porous surface allows grease to accumulate along the walls. Once it penetrates the walls, they can never be properly cleaned. That’s when it’s show time for bacteria. Crud multiplies and wreaks havoc on the system, causing odor and eventually eating away at the concrete.

Determined to eliminate this problem, the restaurant owners spent both time and money on studies and inspections. “We did everything over and above the county’s recommendations to resolve this issue,” said the manager. “We did everything we could. We regularly had our grease traps pumped, we were jetting out lines and putting bacteria treatment in out lines.”

But the odor persisted, as did the neighbors’ complaints. Residents often knocked on the restaurant’s back door wanting to know if staff were aware of the odor. “In the three years I’ve been here, this was something I dealt with on a monthly basis,” she said.

At one point, county inspectors intervened and suggested a lift station be installed – a move that would have been a huge expense. But the restaurant’s owners were prepared to do this, if it was the only answer.

Instead of something as disruptive as a lift station, there was another option: Zurn Green Turtle. The restaurant worked with Zurn to install two Proceptor GMC-1250 engineered fiberglass grease interceptors. After a successful upgrade, the restaurant’s parent company used Proceptors to solve other effluent problems at restaurants across Florida.

Back to business

Just as it rolled in, it rolled out. Almost immediately after the Proceptors were installed, the odor dissipated to everyone’s pleasure. “All of a sudden it hit me, nobody’s been knocking on my back door,” the manager said. “Honestly, since I’ve done that, I’ve never heard from the neighbors.” Now patrons and neighbors are only greeted by the aromas of marinara sauce and garlic bread.

The Proceptor’s smooth fiberglass interior cleans easier and prevents grease and bacteria buildup. With its 30-year warranty against corrosion and structural failure, the restaurant can keep it about the cuisine and customers.

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