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Thread: Grease Pit

  1. #1

    Default Grease Pit

    Ok, I'm new to this site and also new to South Carolina and plumbing..I have a "grease pit" outside my kitchen window (of course in the ground)..My kitchen sink backs up - I've snaked it, liquid plumbered it, plunged it...it feels like a solid block when I snake it..I did at one time see bubbles from my dish soap in the pit but no longer see that..I'm totally stumped..how do you clean the pit? Is there a chemical to put in the hole in the ground into the pit? I have no garbage disposal - it's an older home..my septic is all the way on the other side of the house - all advice is welcomed..thanks...New country girl.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area


    The most effective way to resolve clog issues is to thoroughly jet/clean that pit initially and see if your problems continue.

    Since that device is installed on your system, it is a good thing since detergents and grease can disturb/interrupt the digestive process of your septic system.

    Either have a septic cleaning service pump the pit or if it is small enough, you may be able to use a shop vac and clean it yourself. Expect the most horrible looking stuff and smells in doing so, it ain't pretty to say the least.

    I used to have to clean numerous grease pits/tanks as a union service plumber and I would try to avoid them at all costs. Part of the job though and we had a dedicated shop vac for the job.

    In your situation, if the pit has never been cleaned, it most likely has a hard-caked top to the surface that is restricting the inlet leading to the outlet. That happens quite often and once removed/clean the system operates without error.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  3. #3


    I do want to tell you thatís itís going to smell like a dead hog thatís rotting in the sun, a pile of dog stuff, and a skunk all at one time.

  4. #4


    Thank goodness I have a cold and can't smell anything....so, how do you break the initial "crust"?

  5. #5

    Default same

    I am having the exact same problem. I dug in the yard behind my kitchen and found the grease trap. First thing I noticed was the cement lid is broken. when I tried to take the lid off half of it fell down into the tank (which is full).
    And yes the smell is bad...very bad.

    So what do we do now? I can't get a pump out here for a few days. My kitchen is backing up with water and I"m at a loss. I must also ad that I'm so broke I can't even pay attention......geeeezzzzzz

  6. #6

    Default fixed

    Well, come to find out it wasn't the grease pit after all. I called a plumber out to my house to pump out my pit and he said it didn't need it.
    God as my witness he got a ladder, went on top of my roof and put a snake down the vent.
    After more than 10 days of hell the plumber was at my house for no more than 15 minutes and my problem was solved. Amazing.

    The bad news is I broke the top of my grease pit so I have to replace it but that isn't that big of a deal. Far less than I thought I was going to have to do.

  7. #7
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    Happy everything has come out OK for you. Just a note for the future. If your drain clogs, don't pour the chemicals like Liquid Plummer, Draino, etc., into the system. First of all they don't work on anything more than soap scuz and hair that have plugged a sink trap, and secondly, when you finally call the plumber to snake it out like you should have done in the first place, you will have created a potential chemical hazzard for him. A real clog requires a really auger.

  8. #8

    Default Grease Pit Woes

    Ok, I tried running the snake through the vent from the roof - I came up with dirt - does this mean I have a cave in down there?...I take it this is not a good thing. : mad:

  9. #9
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Earth would indicate a break in the line. When was your house built?

    Are you on a basement, crawl space, or slab?


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