A guide to caring for your interceptor

28 April 2020 by CSG

Interceptor Cleaning & Maintenance

What is an interceptor?

Interceptors are common drainage installations normally found at commercial and industrial sites where vehicles might leak contaminants onto the ground. These may include fire stations, supermarkets, garage forecourts, car parks and wash bays, bus depots, roadworks, construction sites, production facilities, storage areas and industrial yards.

Interceptors filter contaminants such as grime, dirt, oil, slit, petrol, and brake dust from surface water. Wastewater and sludge are trapped by the filters, which create a build-up over time, and if it is not cleaned and maintained regularly it may lead to flooding which could pollute the environment.

Maintenance and cleaning:

It is recommended that interceptors are regularly maintained and cleaned the interceptor tanks every three to six months. However, on a busy industrial or commercial site, the maintenance and cleaning may need to be done on a weekly basis. Typically, the larger site or more vehicles in use on the site, the more frequently the interceptor will need to be cleaned and serviced.  It is also recommended that cleaning and maintenance are performed after heavy rain or events that could have caused more waste to accumulate in the interceptor.

You should appoint a qualified and experienced contractor to perform the cleaning and maintenance.

Their main task will be to clean the drains, remove sludge or oil that has accumulated on the surface. The tanks should also be emptied and cleaned, finally, the interceptor’s dip system should be flushed.

The contractor should also:

  • Examine the integrity of the interceptor and all its mechanical parts.
  • Check the filters, and if necessary, repair or replace.
  • Determine the amount of contaminants collected in the tank.
  • Service the electrical systems (e.g. volume alarms and interceptor management systems)
  • If installed, check the coalescing device, and if necessary, replace.
  • In order to meet site and regulatory requirements, install new separators.
  • Examine manholes, pipework, gullies and other infrastructure around the interceptor.
  • Keep records and log of inspections, maintenance, services as well as any incidents that might have occurred.

Benefits of regular cleaning and maintenance:

  • Being compliant – The sludge consistent of oil, grease, dirt, grime and brake dust is highly pollutant. If the separators (filters) don’t work properly and polluted water enters the main sewage system or floods, it can be harmful to people and the environment.
  • Saving money – Not only will regularly cleaning and maintaining your tanks keep you compliant so you avoid hefty fines from the Environment Agency but the longer you leave the sludge the denser it will become, which is more expensive to remove and dispose of.
  • Protecting the environment – Whether your interceptor is at a car wash bay or a big industrial estate harmful chemicals and pollutants will be present. It is your responsibility to minimise the risk that the interceptor floods or leaks contaminated water into the main sewage system, harming the environment or people.

Customers with a long-term plan for interceptor cleansing and servicing are likely to spend less money in the long run and are at a reduced risk from the damage caused by flooding. To speak to an expert about your interceptor, give us a call on 0800 011 6600.