• Have a question? Just call us on 01455 815214
  • Lines are open Mon - Fri 9AM - 5PM
  • Order 24 hours a day / 7 days a week online

UKGTD are still trading during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our team are here for all customers to give ongoing access to essential grease management.

Monthly Archives: January 2020

  • What Should I Do If My Grease Trap Leaks?

     

    Grease traps save the planet and they save you from water company fines by managing your kitchen’s output of fats, oils and grease (FOGs) – preventing these FOGs from entering the sewers where they form fatbergs over time.

    Grease traps are not meant to leak. If yours is spewing waste water across your kitchen floor, you’ll need to do something about it sharpish – before reflecting on what caused this costly catastrophe.

    For those of you knee-deep in FOG, we’ll start quickly, by addressing the priority.

    How to Clean up the Spill

    • Shut your kitchen down.

    You can’t continue to serve customers if there’s waste water all over your floor, and your staff can’t be wading through waste to prepare food: it's not safe and definitely not hygienic. The minute you spot the leak, get those premises vacated.

    • Cut off the supply.

    Turn off any taps and appliances which may be pumping waste water into your grease trap. Don’t feed the flood.

    • Diagnose your problem.

    Try to identify where the leak in your trap is coming from and, if you can, fix it.

    Janitors cleaning troller

    Is your grease trap overflowing – in which case, has the lid been secured properly? Or is the pipe leading to the sewer blocked, leading to waste water backing up into the trap?

    Or, is there a hole in the trap? In which case - can you plug that hole?

    Stop the leak or overflow if you can but, if it’s clearly a job for a professional, leave it to the pros – if you haven’t already, call your grease contractors in.

    • In the meantime, clean up the mess.

    Mop up the FOG to make the area safe. Ideally, use a spill kit: with absorbent pads and waste disposal bags, these are well worth having on hand in case of a crisis in the kitchen. If you haven’t plugged the leak in the trap, pack a number of these pads around the hole so that they can continue to absorb the waste. Throw away any contaminated ingredients and damaged equipment.

    • Once the worst is over, contain the trap.

    This may mean wrapping the trap up in plastic lining and, if you can, removing the trap altogether. Put some distance between the trap and any surfaces it could contaminate.

    • Finally, deep clean.

    This is a job best done by professionals. Grease trap cleaners often have services which respond to grease trap leaks and overflows: they can pressure wash your floors and use solutions containing fat-digesting bacteria to break down any FOG which is still sticking to surfaces. If you don’t want a lingering smell in your kitchen in a few months’ time, call them in. Plus, as a commercial food service premises preparing food for the public, it’s vital that you conform to all food safety and hygiene regulations. This includes excellent levels of cleanliness without potential bacteria being present from residual grease trap spillage.

    Once your crisis is over, what's your next step?

    Replace or Repair your Trap

    Waste water contains highly acidic fats, oils and grease as well as cleaning chemicals – an acidic mix which, over time, can corrode metal. Given that your trap will have a constant supply of waste water, it’s not surprising that most metal grease traps have a life expectancy of 5 to 12 years.

    Quality, however, usually means longevity – with better traps surviving the waste water flow better than the rest. If your previous trap was of a low standard, with flimsy parts, replace it with a new trap made of sturdy stainless steel: get the right size for you – not so small it overflows too quickly – and get it professionally installed.Stainless steel grease trap

    Quality also gives you an alternative to replacement. If you’ve got a quality trap installed, you may have a quicker and more cost-effective solution: repair. There are a number of companies across the UK which offer to repair your grease trap by re-lining the walls with fresh metal and so covering up any holes or weak areas. Do some research and go for this option if you can.

    Once you’ve got your new or good as new trap in place, remember that

    Prevention is the Best Medicine

    While it may be inevitable that your grease trap will one day fail, it is not inevitable that it will cause a devastating leak when it does.

    If you care for your trap well, you can lengthen its life-span – and if you keep an eye on it, you’ll be able to intervene before FOG comes pouring out into your kitchen.

    One of the simplest ways of caring for your trap is to regularly clean it out.

    Depending on the size of your food business, you may wish to employ a professional grease trap cleaning service – who will also monitor the state of your trap and carry out any necessary repairs to keep it in working order.

    If you decide to go it alone, however, here’s a quick guide to inspecting a grease trap.

    Inspecting a Grease Trap: Step by Step

    • Start simple: Does it smell?

    Bad smells can indicate that there’s a hole in your trap or that the seals aren’t working thus allowing the odour to escape. Regular cleaning will make bad smells less likely, but know that if a stench does come wafting across your kitchen that your trap may be calling out for a closer inspection.

    • Check for corrosion.Two metal grease trap couplings

    Rust on the outside of the trap is a clear sign that your grease trap will need to be repaired or replaced – ideally before that corrosion compromises the integrity of the walls.

    • Check the couplings.

    The points at which waste water enters and leaves your trap are two of the most vulnerable parts of the grease trap. Check the connections between the pipes and your trap are water-tight by running a (gloved) finger around them – if these couplings aren’t dry, you may need a plumber.

    • Open the trap and check the seals.

    If there’s any residue making it onto the outside of the trap through the seals around the lid, it’s a sure sign that the seals are faulty – and in need of replacement.

    Getting into the habit of cleaning your trap regularly and inspecting it each time you do will make a catastrophic spill far less likely. Meanwhile, you’ll be helping your trap save the planet while saving you from those hefty water company fines.

  • Title: New Strategies for Tackling Fatbergs in 2020 and Beyond

     

    The fatberg problem is huge: out of the 200,000 sewer blockages in the UK each year, 75% are caused by fats, oils and grease (FOGs).

    We all know how it goes. FOGs slip and slide down our drains and into our sewers, where they cool and coagulate, clumping together over time into monsters which block the flow of wastewater through the sewer and lead to all sorts of problems: from a boost in rat populations to sewer overflows, which see raw sewage stream straight into our waterways.

    With the UK at the forefront of the issue, with more fatbergs appearing in our sewers than in any other country around the world, it can be difficult to see a future in which the FOG problem is a thing of the past.

    So, let’s think about what the future might hold for the fight against FOG – and what that future needs to look like if we are going to crack the problem once and for all.

    Raising the Alarm

    At the moment, awareness campaigns target food businesses. It’s the food businesses who are told that they have a responsibility to manage their FOG output, and it is food businesses who are threatened with fines from water companies if they don’t co-operate.

    While expanding initiatives such as the Grease Contractors Association to get more businesses and companies co-operating to solve the problem would be a great way to keep up the good work, there’s a key area which we are struggling with, in the awareness-raising department.

     

    Wooden chopping board with knife, saucepan, ingredients and cooking oil

    Household waste makes up a significant proportion of the FOGs which make it into our sewers. Yet disposing of household fats, oils and grease can still be confusing and inconvenient. Few have time to find out the details of what they shouldn’t be putting down their sinks (does old milk count as a fat?) and few have time to stock-pile old oil before taking the bottles on a trip to their local dump.

    Without tackling household FOGs, fatbergs won’t be going anywhere any time soon. But, to do it, we need a well-organised public response to the problem which takes into account the difficulties people can have disposing of their FOGs.

    Not everyone is passionate about grease – and it will surely be a struggle to get millions of individuals across the country to reach and maintain high levels of grease management in their homes and in their businesses.

    It will be a similar struggle to the initiative to get more people recycling – but, if the proportion of our waste being recycled is going up, slowly but steadily, we can manage to get more FOGs disposed of properly, too.

    With a team effort, the future could be fatberg free.

    While we can all chip in, there are some who could:

    Take the Lead

    This could mean the government introducing legislation which ensures food producers cut down on the amount of fats, oil and grease they put into the foods we eat – cutting down on the FOGs entering circulation in the first place.

    Or it could mean the government introducing more incentives for water and energy companies to team up in the initiatives we are already seeing – converting fatbergs into biofuels in order to offset their effects.

    But leadership doesn’t necessarily need to come from government. The grease management industry needs to continue to lead the way in fine-tuning the armoury which restaurants have access to, by innovating to improve the grease-fighting products on offer.Stainless steel grease trap

    That might mean introducing greater automation to passive stainless steel grease traps or automatic grease traps or GRU's to make the clean-up operation easier or finding an innovation which means that their efficiency begins to fall when they are 75% full, rather than after the current 25% boundary.

    It could also mean boosting the efficiency of bio-dosers, such as GreasePak, with stronger yet safer strains of bacteria breaking down fats, oils and grease in drains or in traps.

    Both the government and the water industry could then take this lead to face the problem head-on.

    In The Sewers

    There’s considerable room for an upgrade.

    The Thames Supersewer – currently under construction – promises to bring with it a time when fatbergs in the capital will no longer cause raw sewage to flow straight into the river.

    What if such improvements were seen right across the country?

    Our current Victorian sewers are perfect breeding grounds for fatbergs. The plentiful supply of nooks and crannies in their rough walls are one reason why: FOGs cling to cracks and wait to attract more FOG - the masses of fats, oils and grease then snowball, particularly as wet wipes and other solid matter snags on the walls and lend a helping hand. Meanwhile, the tiny diameters of many sections of our sewers make them ripe for a blockage.

    Our sewer system is crying out for re-development. New sewers could have unblockable wide tunnels and smooth concrete walls which FOG would struggle to cling to.Cross section of large drain pipes

    What’s more, we could apply some of the technology we already have. Adding sensors to monitor build-ups of solid matter, for instance, or introducing large-scale bio-dosing, by maintaining a sewer environment which is favourable to the strains of bacteria which break down fats.

    With a standardised sewer system, we might even be able to borrow from the mining industry or take advantage of the soon-to-come leaps forward in Artificial Intelligence and robotics to ensure that no humans need to be tasked with breaking down fatbergs by hand – a machine could do the dirty work for us.

    Costs are, of course, the obstacle. But most fatbergs currently cost over a hundred thousand pounds to remove. How many fatberg-removals will it take before a sewer renovation becomes the cheaper alternative?

    As it stands a future without fatbergs seems quite far away. But there’s no reason to lose hope. In fact, it’s time to get practical and get down to business. Do your bit to stop FOGs entering our sewers, and bring a fatberg free future that little bit closer.

  • Grease Digesting Bio-Dosers: A Standalone Solution?

     

    The Fatberg problem is huge: our national love of fried fast foods currently means that more and more fats, oils and grease (FOGs) are slipping into sewers across the country and forming fatbergs which cost water companies hundreds of thousands of pounds to deal with. Not only popping up in big cities, these monsters have also been discovered festering in sewers in seaside towns like Sidmouth.

    Understandably, the problem has left many of us looking for a miracle cure. One of the most popular being Bio-Dosing.

    But is it up to scratch? And could it replace our traps?

    To answer these questions, let’s start with the basics.

    Grease Traps or Bio-Dosers - What’s the Difference?

    The traditional method of handling FOGs, a grease trap simply sits in a corner of your kitchen, or underground beneath a manhole cover, and intercepts the flow of waste water from your sinks and appliances before it reaches the sewers outside.

    The trap slows the flow of your waste water and allows it time to cool. While the solid food matter in the waste water sinks to the bottom of the trap, the FOGs cool to form a layer of scum on the top of the water. The water in the middle is then filtered out into the sewers, while the FOGs and solid food matter remain in the trap to be scooped out, regularly, by you – so that you can send that waste off to be processed by a specialist plant.

    That specialist plant will use bacteria or chemicals to break down the FOGs.

    Bio-dosing brings the methods of those specialists into your kitchen – so that fats, oils and grease can be broken down as they slip through your drains or as they enter your grease traps.

    It sounds great and can be effective – but the big question which they have prompted is:

    Can Bio-Dosers Replace Grease Traps?

    To answer this, it’s best to begin by specifying that there are two types of bio-dosers: those which work in your drains, and those which work in your grease traps.

    The bio-dosers which some are saying could replace grease traps as a standalone solution are those which work by breaking down the FOGs in your drains.

    Let’s look a little closer at one of these.

    GreasePak Biological Drain Maintenance System GreasePak Biological Drain Maintenance System

    The GreasePak

    The GreasePak Biological Drain Maintenance System doses your waste water pipe every night with a strand of bacteria which is capable of breaking down even the most stubborn long-chain fatty acids, oils and greases. With these regular doses, it maintains a bio-film coating on the walls of your drains which begins to digest FOGs as soon as they slip past.

    Small and compact, the GreasePak slots neatly into place on the wall by your waste water pipe GreasePak on wall connected to drain pipe with labelled pipework showing how it is installed and usedand can be left to its own devices for a month at a time – until its alarm goes off telling you that it’s time you refilled it.

    Costs:

    As Bio-dosers go, the GreasePak is pretty cost effective:

    While a mains-powered GreasePak will set you back just over £530 including VAT, the battery powered GreasePak comes in cheaper at £474 including VAT.

    It is worth remembering, however, that the batteries of the battery powered GreasePak will need to be replaced about once every two years – at £45 a pop. As for the fluid, you can buy a 3-month supply (three 5 litre refills) for just over £130.

    *Prices correct at time of posting.

    The Conclusion:

    Bio-dosers like the GreasePak promise to cut out drain blockages and stop any of the associated stenches from getting into your kitchen. With a GreasePak installed, your drains won’t become blocked.

    On top of this, as GreasePak uses a naturally occurring strain of bacteria, while breaking down the FOG waste your kitchen will produce, the GreasePak does have some environmental credentials.

    However, the GreasePak is not a miracle cure for the fatberg problem. While it can coat the walls of your waste water pipes with an effective mixture of bacteria – your waste water will be flowing too fast for those bacteria to break down all of your FOG waste.

    This isn’t necessarily the fault of GreasePak – it does all it can, and it does it well – but having a single Bio-doser pumping bio-fluids into your drain simply won’t stop your drains spewing FOG waste into the sewers – and it won’t stop you from being held partially responsible if a fatberg forms in a sewer near you.

    If You Want a Bio-Doser – Get a Grease Trap Too

    Bio-Dosers can’t take on fatbergs single-handedly.

    Bio-dosers can still have benefits: breaking down FOGs, they ensure that it takes longer for your grease trap to fill up. This is good for two reasons. Firstly, grease traps become less efficient once they are over 25% full, and so bio-dosers will ensure that your grease trap stays working efficiently for much longer. Secondly, if you dread cleaning out your grease trap every few weeks, a bio-doser helping to break down the FOGs in your drains or in your trap can make clean-up operations less frequent.

    Basically: Bio-dosing keeps your trap working well while saving you labour.

    If the price-tag attached to the GreasePak makes you feel like those returns aren’t worthwhile, there is another option you may be interested in.GreaseBeta GBPump Automatic Dosing Unit

    GreaseBeta

    Cheaper than the GreasePak, this method of beating grease involves investing in an automatic dosing pump such as the GBPump, as well as a bottle of GreaseBeta Liquid Fat Digester Amnite L100.

    While the pump will set you back just under £190 (including VAT), a 100L bottle of the Liquid Fat Digester will set you back just under £120 for a 3 month supply.

    Once you’ve filled up the pump and attached it to your grease trap, it will release up to two daily doses of the Fat Digester into the trap, where it will break down FOGs and slow the rate at which your trap fills up.GBPump fitted next to sink with a grease trap

    As with the GreasePak, GreaseBeta uses bacteria rather than harsh chemicals to break down FOGs – meaning that it too can boast about being more environmentally friendly than other methods of dealing with harmful waste products.

    If your aim is to shave a few pounds off the price of saving yourself from too much dirty work, the GreaseBeta might be the way to go.

    *Prices correct at time of posting.

    Build on the Basics with Bio-Dosing

    Grease traps are and, look set to remain, the main way of combatting the FOG problem. They are simple and they are effective – where Bio-dosing is a little more complicated and, on its own, not nearly as effective.

    Bio-dosing can however form an important part of your grease management practices – and if you find yourself with a little extra to spend, it may be worth splashing out on a GreasePak or a GreaseBeta, if only to make your life a little easier.

  • Fatbergs – Not Always the Health Hazard People Presume

     

    A year ago, a 64 metre fatberg was found in a sewer in Sidmouth. Eight weeks of work later, a crew of South West Water workers managed to remove the berg at a cost of £100,000 and sent four 10kg samples off to be analysed by a team from the University of Exeter, led by Dr John Love, Associate Professor in Plant and Industrial Biotechnology.

    Using a mix of techniques – from simply extracting and identifying the waste materials by sight to DNA sequencing, the team sifted through the samples.

    The results were surprising…

    The Fatberg Findings and Autopsy

    Fatbergs form when fats, oils and grease (FOGs) escape down our drains and into our sewers, where they cool and solidify over time.

    Often wet wipes, which fail to break down once they are flushed down our loos, end up becoming a crucial part of the structure of the fatbergs, helping them to form faster. While they form, fatbergs trap anything and everything which happens to be flowing past in the sewer – whether that’s human waste or solid objects which have been flushed intentionally or by mistake.

    Scientist with face mask using a pipette in a petri dish of blue liquid

    In the moist and slightly warm conditions of the fatberg, harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms get to work feeding off of all of the gory details, until the fatberg is a stinking cocktail of nasties.

    This means that handling a berg is usually pretty bad for your health – which is why the teams tasked with removing and studying them have to wear the full complement of health and safety gear at all times.

    However, when the Sidmouth fatberg samples were cracked open, the team of Exeter experts found that, while the berg stunk, it wasn’t quite as dangerous as they first expected: there were no harmful bacteria or toxic chemicals.

    Instead, the Sidmouth berg was simply a mix of FOGs and domestic waste  - wet wipes, sanitary towels and other household products which Sidmouth residents had put down the loo instead of throwing away.

    Together with these, were solid specimens reflecting the population of the small coastal community of retirees: a set of false teeth and a number of incontinence pads.

    These discoveries caused a great deal of doubt and prompted the question:

    Are We Wrong About Fatbergs?

    Sidmouth, with its population of just 13,000 people, is not a typical fatberg hotspot.

    We are more used to fatbergs forming in places with high population density: lots of people living in a small area means that it is more likely that more FOGs will be poured down drains in the same area, entering the same sewers and adding to the same fatbergs.

    This was true of the most famous fatberg, which hit headlines in 2017 after being discovered in Whitechapel, one of the most densely populated areas in the country.

    And that famous berg set the tone for how the fatbergs which followed were covered in the news. Because the Whitechapel berg contained a deathly mix of harmful bacteria and toxic chemicals, we all came to expect that all fatbergs would contain the same. Because the fatberg in Whitechapel contained drugs and syringes, the fact that the Sidmouth berg did not felt like a further surprise.

    What the Sidmouth Fatberg Revealed

    Crossed out biohazard symbol

    Because the famous Whitechapel fatberg set the tone for fatberg coverage, a lot of assumptions have been flying around about the fatberg problem. The Sidmouth berg unravels those assumptions and reminds us that all a fatberg really is, is an accumulation of FOGs.

    They aren’t necessarily toxic and though you might find some strange things in them, those objects are a reflection of who the people in the local area are and what they tend to end up flushing down their toilets.

    With another fatberg beginning to form in the same drain under the Esplanade in Sidmouth almost immediately after the 64 metre monster was removed, it seems that this problem in the seaside town is here to stay. And we shouldn’t be surprised if, over time, we see more bergs emerge in places where we wouldn’t necessarily expect them.

    Serving as a Grease Filled Reminder

    It Reminds Us That:

    The fatberg problem is relevant to all of us, wherever we live and whoever we are. We all need to come together to tackle it and, as all a fatberg is is an accumulation of the FOGs which manage to slip down our drains, we all know what we need to do.

    To stop fats, oils and grease getting into our sewers, invest in a quality grease trap today.

  • The Grease Contractors Association

     

    The FOG problem is huge. Fats, oils and grease (FOGs) are making it down drains across the world and water companies from Baltimore to Brisbane are finding fatbergs forming in their sewers.

    But it seems like no country has been plagued with as many bergs as Britain. With our Victorian sewers struggling to cope with our love of fried fast foods, we are Fatberg central, with the problem costing our utility companies £100 million a year.

    The terrifying scale of the issue calls for co-operation.

    Enter: the Grease Contractors Association (GCA).

    What Is The GCA?

    A not-for-profit alliance of specifiers, installers and maintainers of grease management systems, the Grease Contractors Association is an initiative administered by British Water which has been running for nearly four years.

    The GCA’s membership is split into two groups: the GCA Certified Contractors and the GCA Supporters.

    Certified contractor memberships are available to companies and organisations which specify, supply, install and maintain a range of grease management systems. Once certified by British Water’s Auditors, these contractors are evaluated twice a year to ensure that their practices are still up to scratch.

    Supporter memberships of the GCA are available to all other companies, organisations and stakeholders in the grease management industry. They are contractors, suppliers, researchers and developers, educators, manufacturers, consultants and business-users of grease management products.

    In amongst this second group is us: UK Grease Traps Direct is proud to be one of the Supporter Members of the Grease Contractors Association.

    Why?

    That’s simple.

    The GCA is Forging Unity in the Face of FOGsHands joining in circle

    Bringing specifiers, installers and maintainers together, the GCA provides a platform for its members to collaborate in order to set standards for the grease management industry to follow.

    Pooling their expertise, the 14 and growing members of the GCA, aim to tackle the fatberg problem by:

    • educating consumers on their role in FOG reduction
    • setting out best practice for food businesses
    • assisting in the research and development of new products and services

    And, ultimately, by influencing and advising on legislation and regulation.

    Along the way, as it becomes a forum for grease management experts, the GCA seeks to bring clarity and understanding, credibility and transparency to the grease management industry as a whole.

    As the GCA is proving:

    Together We Can Solve the FOG Problem Once and For All

    Different colour silhouettes of group of people

    The GCA is already making progress educating food businesses to ensure that they know all about the threats posed by fats, oils and grease to our sewers.

    And their auditing system is beginning to make it easier for those food business owners to tell who they can trust as they try to tackle the problem: with certified GCA approval showing them which grease traps to invest in, who they should hire to install them, and who they can rely on to have those traps cleaned out regularly and maintained in good working order.

    The GCA is bringing uniformity to a previously disorganised industry and promises to become a force to be reckoned with in the fight against fatbergs.

    But there is still a long way to go before the GCA can make these sewer-blocking giants a thing of the past.

    First things first, the association has got to grow. So: if you are a grease management contractor and you haven’t already, join the conversation today.

    There’s only one way to end the scourge of bergs in our sewers – we’ve got to work together.

5 Item(s)

Top