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  • What Size Grease Trap Do I Need?

     

    Grease traps are an important addition to any commercial kitchen. Their work in limiting the amount of harmful waste that ends up in the drainage systems and consequently the environment can never be overstated.

    Every year, millions of litres of wastewater get dumped into the drainage system in the UK alone from activities carried out in commercial kitchens. On the same thread, water companies spend millions clearing blockages caused by fatbergs which are as a direct result from the FOG introduced by this wastewater from the commercial kitchen.

    To prevent this from happening, authorities have introduced laws, regulations and guidelines that involve the usage of grease traps in any commercial establishment serving food. While this isn’t compulsory at present in England, it is strongly advised and will likely become a legal requirement (as it is in Scotland) very soon. You could pay hefty fines for failure to use the appropriate grease traps as directed by your local authorities.

    Given the importance of a grease trap to your business and the environment at large, it is important for you, as a commercial kitchen owner, to understand what kind of grease trap you need and the appropriate size for maximum effect.Water in a sink

    Picking the Right Size

    Grease traps do not come in one universal size, the same way, not all commercial food establishment are equal. Therefore, you need to understand what size of the grease trap is most ideal for you.

    The work of the grease trap is to slow down wastewater coming from the outlet of the sink of dishwasher long enough for it to cool down. The grease can then separate from the water before the water flows out.

    Picking a smaller or bigger grease trap could cause overflows or back-ups in your drainage systems. Both of these outcomes are bound to create a mess you do not want to have to handle in your commercial kitchen. The kitchen would need to be shut down for deep cleaning, resulting in unexpected down-time and loss of profit. It might also lead to the FOG being released into the drainage system thus rendering the grease trap ineffective and your business at risk of prosecution.

    The grease traps you will be using are sized according to the rate of water flowing in gallons per minute (GPM). This flow will further be determined by the number of sink outlets and applicable equipment such as glasswasher and dishwashers in your commercial kitchen. Therefore, the more flow of water you have the bigger your grease trap should be.

    This is then calculated against the grease trap’s capacity to determine how much waste it can handle at any particular time. Here are some of the calculations you will have to do for your grease traps.Calculator

    Pot Washing Sinks

    To calculate the flow rate;

    • First, start by multiplying the length by the width and depth of your sink in inches. This gives you the capacity of the sink in cubic inches.
    • Then convert these cubic inches to gallons per minute in order to get the flow rate. You will do this by dividing the cubic inches by 231.
    • Adjust for displacement i.e. the actual capacity of the sink that you will be using, by multiplying it by 0.75.

    Your math should look like this

    L x W x D to give you X as the capacity of the sink then X/231 to give you Y as the flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM). Then Y multiplied by 0.75 to give you the size of the grease trap you will need for your commercial kitchen.

    In the event you are using multiple sinks in your establishment and one grease trap;

    • Calculate the flow rate for each individual sink
    • Take 100% of the largest flow rate, 50% of the second largest and 25% of the rest and add them together.
    • The flow rate you get is what’s recommended for that particular grease trap.

    Stainless steel grease trap

    Dishwashing machines

    Normally, authorities require that dishwashers have individual grease traps. They are different from conventional sinks since their capacity is clearly indicated.

    • For machines with a 10-15 gallons capacity, use a grease trap that can handle at 15 pounds or higher.
    • 20 to 30 gallons require a grease trap that can handle at least 20 pounds.

    You do not have to carry out all these calculations for your grease traps alone. You could simply seek advice from a reputable grease trap supplier or from the local water company who will carry out a site visit and advise on the appropriate grease trap, including advising you on other factors such as the cost-effectiveness of the items.

  • How Do Water Companies Know Who’s Caused a Fatberg?

     

    Fatbergs can be the fault of particular food businesses or they can be a community effort.

    How do water companies know the difference?

    Sometimes we can only know after the berg has been autopsied: it was only after the recent Sidmouth fatberg was cut up, sorted through by hand and then tested that we found out that the berg wasn’t the fault of an individual restaurant, but of a collective effort on the part of the locals.

    More often than not, however, the water company’s job is much simpler:

    They Follow The TrailPerson looking through pipe

    While many have an attitude of out-of-sight out-of-mind when it comes to Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs), down below it can often be crystal clear where the gunk is coming from.

    FOG deposits often line the walls of the sewer from the fatberg back to the polluting drain.

    After walking the length of the trail (or after sending a camera into the tight spots), water company workers only have to trace the problem drain to street level to find their prime suspects.

    And Then?

    Those suspects will be inspected.

    If the inspectors find that a restaurant’s kitchen has a fully functioning grease trap and if there is evidence of good grease management practices (such as record keeping and regular cleaning schedules), they will be crossed off the list of suspects.

    If a food business is found without a trap, however, that business will be much more likely to be held responsible for the nearby berg.

    If you are suspected of contributing to a fatberg, however:

    You May Not Be Fined Straight Away

    Green pound signBack in 2017, Thames Water found that 95% of food outlets in Oxford, visited as part of a research project into awareness of the fatberg problem, did not have grease traps installed and were not practising satisfactory grease management techniques.

    Water companies know that many food business owners are simply unaware of the impact FOGs have when they are released into our sewers. And, as many food businesses regularly fork out hundreds of pounds to clear blockages caused by FOGs in their own pipes, water companies also know that it is in the interests of the food business owner to know how to prevent fats, oils and grease entering their drains.

    So, water companies’ first step when they find an offending restaurant is to educate: inspectors will hand out leaflets and posters; they’ll talk about the impacts of FOGs and fatbergs on our waterways, and they’ll advise business owners on what kind of trap to invest in.

    Only if a food business is found, over an extended period of time and through a series of follow up inspections, to have failed to heed the warnings of the water company and change its ways

    Goslyn GOS40 GRU Goslyn GOS40 Automatic Grease Removal Unit

    will the water company fine the food business.

    And those fines can be hefty, as the record £420,000 fine handed out to Hypergood Ltd. proved in early September – after the company had, for 11 months, ignored the warnings and

    advice offered by Thames Water.

    But, Before The Inspectors Need To Come Knocking…

    Get on the right side of the fight against fatbergs.

    Get in the know, get an automatic GRU or a manual grease trap and you’ll be just fine.

  • The Number 1 Thing People Don’t Consider When Starting A Food Business

     

    You’re there: you’ve bought your ingredients, your ware washers and your deep fat fryers, you’ve rented your premises and, after an intense brainstorm, you’ve come up with a great name and a fantastic strategy to attract punters to your brand-new food business.

    But, if you haven’t factored one thing in, your gloriously constructed plan might be fatally flawed.

    What is the one thing people don’t consider when starting up a food business?

    Fatbergs

    Dirty dinner plate

    The scourge of our sewers, fatbergs build up slowly from an accumulation of Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs). These FOGs come from our kitchens: from the residue on plates, which gets washed down the drain while we wash up, to the used oil which is improperly disposed of because no-one knows what to do with it.

    Once in the sewers, the FOGs solidify into masses which catch all sorts of gory details, from wet wipes to faecal matter, and block the sewer – making it more likely that raw sewage will end up spewing straight out into our waterways.

    And that’s not all. On top of the environmental cost of fatbergs, there’s a financial side, too.

    Not only does it cost water companies a huge amount of money to remove fatbergs from sewers, but they also face fines when they don’t work hard enough to prevent the associated Gold pound signspill of raw sewage into rivers and streams.

    Those fines have been stepped up in recent years: back in 2017, Thames Water was fined a gargantuan £20.3 million by the Environmental Agency after a huge leak of 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage into the Thames and its tributaries.

    And that stepping up means there’s also been a stepping up of the fines which water companies, in turn, have been handing out to businesses deemed to be responsible for fatbergs. Just a couple of weeks ago, Thames Water fined the Chinese food company Hypergood Ltd, which trades under the name Royal Gourmet, a record £420,000 for allowing FOGs to enter the sewers.

    The fatberg problem is getting serious and water companies are getting serious about it, and that means that food business owners new and old need to get on the right side of the fight before they and the environment pay a hefty penalty.

    How do you solve the fatberg problem? 

    Get Clued Up and Get A Grease Trap

    If you are new to the issue, find out more about fatbergs and their effects on the environment. Then, find the right grease trap for you, get it installed and learn to keep it clean and working efficiently.

  • Making Good Use of Grey Water

     

    Water is one of the most important resources in the world. Nations spend billions every year trying to ensure that every citizen has enough water for their daily use. This has seen billions of litres of water being pumped into our homes and businesses every year.

    Despite this, development, population growth and other factors have increased the need to have more water. These factors have also contributed to the immense wastage of water which is hurting the environment.

    In the UK, it is estimated that the average person uses 150 litres of water every day. This is a lot of water for one person. Multiplied by the entire population in the UK, and you will find that there is a lot more water being used today that twenty years ago.

    Commercial establishments tend to use higher quantities of water at any given time than domestic properties. The question, therefore, is not what they use the water for but how they use it.

    It is not strange to find water being wasted in restaurants and catering businesses as drains are ever flowing with water generated from activities such as dish washing, general cleaning and even food prep.

    This water is called greywater.

    Much of this greywater is reusable and can help reduce water wastage which will eventually ensure that there is more water for everyone and that the environment is kept safe. However, it is important to understand how and when to use greywater.

    Symbol of waste water leaving pipe with a strike through

    Measures Have Been Taken

    Wastage of water does not go unnoticed. That it is why the Love Water Campaign was founded, to get people to use water more responsibly. The Love Water Campaign aims to sensitise people on responsible usage of water. Their aim at protecting water is backed by a number of different organisations in the UK.

    All businesses can play a role in the proper utilisation of water by following the guidelines provided by the Love Water Campaign. You can also work by minimising the amount of water you waste by investing in a recycling system.

    Collection and Use of Grey Water

    It is possible to use greywater for other purposes in a commercial setting. All you need is a greywater recycling system that will collect all the water you pour down your sink and in drains before filtering it and pumping it back into areas like your toilet for flushing and washing machine. Businesses who choose to liven up their premises with a few plants for decoration can also use greywater to regularly hydrate their foliage. Greywater should never be used for cooking or during food preparation for hygiene and food safety reasons.

    There are a number of treatments available each dependent on where the greywater has come from and what it may potentially harbour e.g. food debris. While processes such as septic tanks, ‘wetland’ and ‘sand filter’ methods are effective, many businesses will not have the time or resources to implement these treatments. A ‘direct use’ system for the watering of plants and a mechanical filter system for other uses is the most viable for many premises. Mechanical filters operate by collecting greywater and pumping it to a tank where it is treated (typically with chlorine) before being redirected to wherever it’s needed.

    Waste water flowing into public water killing fish

    Recycling of greywater comes with a few rules and advisories as it involves collecting dirty water and reusing it in establishments that need to maintain the highest hygiene standards. Here are some things to consider before you set up a greywater recycling system.

    1. Untreated greywater is not to be stored

    For the most part, greywater contains organic materials which tend to decompose and produce odours if stored for too long. This can paint a bad picture and bring about unwanted consequences for your business. Make sure that whatever greywater you collect is recycled and used immediately.

    1. Use a grease trap

    You could also consider using a grease trap to collect the FOG that gets washed down the drains in a commercial kitchen. This prevents the accumulation of harmful food debris and solids as well as FOGs to make grey water a little less grey. Make sure to clean these grease traps regularly for efficiency purposes.

    1. Have as little contact as possible with greywater

    For hygiene purposes, minimum contact with greywater is always advised. There is a lot of waste going down the drains in a commercial establishment, especially if you handle many customers in a day. Maintaining minimal contact for ‘direct use’ systems allows you to maintain optimum hygienic conditions in your premises. Any mechanical filter system should be located well away from any food storage, food preparation and cooking areas.

    1. Your greywater treatment system should not pose a danger to the environment

    Other than reducing total water usage, one of the main reasons to recycle greywater is to keep the environment safe by minimising the number of pollutants entering water systems and rivers as a result of commercially treated greywater. Therefore, make sure that any mechanical filter system you use reflects this endeavour. This means avoiding chemicals that can harm the environment.

     

    There are many different ways to ensure the preservation of water for the sake of the environment. Carrying out these practices in a business can be challenging, the benefits however, involved in recycling greywater makes it a worthy venture.

     

  • GreaseShield vs Goslyn: Battle of the GRUs

    Just a few years ago, only a small minority of people had heard of FOGs, fatbergs and grease traps let alone more specialist terms such as grease removal units (or GRU’s). Now, the topic dominates the headlines with the term ‘fatberg’ even being added to the dictionary. The public, both on a domestic and commercial level are now greatly aware of the masses congealing in the public sewer systems on a global scale, the causes and how we can collectively combat the problem.
    Although grease traps offer a rudimentary solution for separating fats, oils and grease from wastewater before being deposited into the main drainage network, GRU’s or automatic grease traps offer a more sophisticated solution.
    Here we set the two leading suppliers of GRU’s head to head to determine which is the best grease management solution for your business.

    GreaseShield

    Based in Northern Ireland, Grease Shield specialise in the production of automatic grease traps available in a full range of sizes to accommodate different water flow rates. The all-in-one system is compliant with water regulations and has earned a number of notable awards.

    Effectively separating FOG into a separate self-contained cassette rather than just trapping it in the main tank, undiluted fats, oils and grease can be quickly and easily removed ready for disposal. Whether you have arranged for collection by an approved waste contractor or wish to dispatch product to conversion plants that deal with renewable energy sources, the whole separation and recovery process is simple and efficient.

    The design eliminates the need to access the interior of the device for easy, mess-free maintenance and as cleaning can be carried out in-house, you can reduce the costs incurred for the regular cleaning or pumping required with manual or passive traps.

    One of the pitfalls of a standard grease trap is that some people have noted a distinct odour emanating from the trap. This is often down to solid matter remaining in the trap, slowly breaking down and decomposing, emitting a strong stench. No need to worry about that with Grease Shield! Grease Shield benefits from a solids filter which ensures that any food debris is collected and can be disposed of on a daily basis. This process means that foul smells often associated with other manual grease traps are eliminated.

    Grease Shield automatic grease traps require a mains power supply used to operate a low maintenance FOG roller. The roller attracts FOG and repels water for effective separation. An automatic scraper takes care of the roller for you with minimal user input required. These systems also benefit from a recirculation process which sees greywater being redistributed back through the GRU to help clean the interior and increase the efficiency of FOG removal.

    Goslyn

    The Goslyn brand originated in the USA yet has become a global powerhouse synonymous with expert grease management and removal systems. Counting a number of major, worldwide brands as clients including McDonalds, KFC and Taco Bell, their automatic grease traps can deal with a range of water flow rates.

    Being compact and easy to install, Goslyn grease interceptors are extremely versatile and can be retro-fitted with almost all equipment that comes into contact with FOG. A highly efficient and cost-effective method of separating FOG from wastewater, it’s easy to see why this brand is recognised as a leader in the field.

    Featuring a solids filter, food debris as small as 2mm is removed from wastewater and held in an easy to access area for quick removal and disposal. Any finer particles which make it through the filter can be removed by using the self-closing silt or ‘flush’ valve. This only needs to be activated for around 5-10 seconds per day to effectively clean the system. As with the GreaseShield unit, the solids are removed, meaning there is no smell or odour created – a common problem in manual grease trap counterparts.

    The Goslyn system has an on-board heater which requires a small power supply. The unit utilises hydrostatic pressure at 40°C to maintain FOG in its liquid state. This combination of heat and pressure facilitates the effective separation of fats, oils and grease from wastewater with as much as 99.6% of FOG being pushed through the oil discharge valve into a separate collection chamber for easy disposal. The collected FOG is ready to be disposed of by a licensed waste contractor or sent directly for bio-diesel conversion.

    Unlike the Grease Shield’s automatic roller and plastic scraper that will periodically need replacing throughout the lifespan of the unit, a cost that may be covered under warranty in the first year, however, will be at your own cost after 12 months, Goslyn GRU’s don’t use any moving parts which could potentially breakdown. The only issue may come from the heater however with a massive 5-year warranty you’ll be covered in the highly unlikely event of a problem arising.

    The performance of the Goslyn GRU exceeds industry standards and guarantees the device always operates at peak efficiency. The resulting ‘clean’ greywater flows naturally through to the public sewer system, reducing the strain and demand on water treatment and processing plants and helping to combat those dreaded fatbergs.

    Comparing the GreaseShield & Goslyn at a Glance

    GreaseShield Goslyn
    Average Price (ex-VAT)  £3,000 £2,500
    Automatic 
    Solids Filter 
    Separate FOG Container 
    No Moving Parts 
    Power  Requires Power Supply Requires Power Supply
    No Chemicals 
    Cleaning  Empty/Clean Filter & Cassette Daily Empty/Clean Filter & Cassette Daily
    Warranty  12 Months 60 Months

    Our Verdict

    Both Grease Shield and Goslyn are undisputedly leaders in the field, both proving effective and efficient at dealing with FOG separation and grease management. With minimal maintenance and quick daily cleaning that can be carried out in-house, there’s none of the expense associated with manual pumping out of other grease traps and certainly none of the inconvenience of having to shut-down the kitchen for cleaning purposes.

    Overall, both the Grease Shield and Goslyn are much more effective than a passive grease trap but the bottom line is that the Goslyn has more plus points. Offering greater overall value for money, eliminating potentially troublesome moving parts and including a longer warranty, the Goslyn, for us, just pips GreaseShield to the post.

    Get in touch and tell us what you think.

  • Biggest Fatbergs on Record

     

    Is it me or does it seem like fatbergs are only getting bigger and badder -- that the problem is only getting worse?

    Back in 2013, when the word fatberg hadn’t even made it into the dictionary, a berg found in a sewer in Kingston-Upon-Thames was proclaimed the biggest in British history – the size of aSewer manhole cover bus, it weighed in at 15 tonnes.

    Since then we’ve been finding fatbergs which are over ten times that. The Whitechapel monster which hit headlines in September 2017 weighed in at 130 tonnes and only held the record for six months before an even bigger berg was found in South Bank in April 2018. In February of this year, a fatberg found in Liverpool trumped all others, weighing in at 400 tonnes.

    Though fatbergs are more likely to begin to form on the rugged surfaces of old sewers, and ours are some of the oldest in the world, they aren’t just a British problem. 47% of all sewage clogs in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency reports, are down to FOGs, while big ‘uns have been found in Melbourne and Baltimore, Singapore and Dannevirke, New Zealand, too.

    The fatberg problem has gone global and the increasing size of the monsters we are finding is scary.

    But Does Size Actually Matter?

    That depends.

    Of course, the length of a fatberg matters to those water company workers tasked with extracting them: the bigger the berg, the bigger the job.

    And size is what many news reports focus on: emphasising how long the berg in question took to be removed from the sewers, how much manpower was needed and how much money was spent.

    Those reports make the fight against fatbergs seem like a David and Goliath battle, which makes sewage sound much more interesting and certainly boosts awareness of the issue.Folding ruler

    But…

    Size Isn’t Everything

    And focusing on it mischaracterises the problem.

    In the short term, there’s the issue of catastrophising which we’ve talked about before: making fatbergs seem big and scary makes the problem seem insurmountable and so puts some off the idea of making the small adjustments they need to make to help solve the problem.

    And there could be long-term consequences of this focus, too.

    Fatbergs form gradually over time. The longer they are left the longer and heavier they get. Their size is only a measure of their age, so: our problem with massive fatbergs is really only a problem with old fatbergs.

    Water companies around the world, only recently alerted to the FOG problem, are only just beginning to work through a backlog of these old bergs: returning to unclog long-forgotten pipes, removing masses of FOGs which have been growing for decades.

    And, one day soon, they’ll remove the last giant berg from the sewers.

    We Need To Be Wary Of What Happens Next

    If we continue to focus too heavily on the size of bergs, our news reports might end up portraying that removal of the last giant as a final victory: we might feel that the problem is over with and we might just go right back to our old ways, pouring FOGs straight down the drains.

    But the problem will not have gone away.

    It will just have become all about the small fast-forming bergs which are currently being deemed too tiny to be newsworthy.

    Even they can wreak havoc: the BBC reported in 2013 that that puny 15-tonne Kingston-Upon-Thames fatberg was enough to reduce the sewer to 5% capacity; enough to lead to sewage being pumped straight into our waterways.

    Sewage pipe flowing into water

    So:

    Size can certainly be impressive and attention-grabbing, but we need to change our ways for good: to keep maintaining our trusty grease traps and always be mindful of what goes down our drains.

    Looking at the size and nothing else might make that behavioural change harder to attain.

     

     

     

  • 5 Ways to Avoid the Risk of a Water Company Fine

     

    Recently, the way foodservice operators have been disposing of their fats, oils and grease (FOGs) has come under increased scrutiny. This is partly because of the increasing number of stories emphasising the environmental and social impact of the UK’s fatberg problem.

    Why Are Water Companies Clamping Down?

    FOGs don’t dissolve in water, so if they’re flushed down the sink they cool, congeal, and combine with domestic waste to form giant blockages. Water UK estimates that there are more than 300,000 sewer blockages caused by FOGs each year. Clearing these blockages and cleaning up the flooding and pollution they cause costs the UK in excess of £80 million.

    Typically, wastewater from commercial kitchens contains a higher concentration of FOG than domestic kitchens. That’s why it’s businesses and not households which are being held most responsible.

    Any uncontrolled discharge of FOG by a foodservice operator, or a failure to act diligently, contravenes Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991. If a water company finds that you’ve been flushing the wrong things down the drain, they could prosecute you. If you’re found guilty you could face an unlimited fine or even imprisonment. Also, if the water company have spent any money to clear a blockage you’ve caused, they can claim the costs back from you.

    To avoid prosecution, it’s important that you and your staff stop FOG from going down the drain. Here are a few helpful tips:

    Top 5 Tips to Avoid the Risk of A Fine from your Local Water Authority

    1. Wipe Plates Off Before Rinsing ThemDirty dinner plate

    The pot washers and ware washers in all food service businesses have an important role to play in stopping FOG and other food waste entering the sewage system.

    Firstly, you should always make sure everyone scrapes leftover food, vegetable peelings, and any grease from plates, pans and utensils into the appropriate waste bin. Then, before washing, wipe plates off using a kitchen towel to remove as much residual FOG as possible and put that into the bin too.

    1. Install a Grease Trap

    Last year an Indian restaurant in Shrewsbury was ordered to pay a £3,700 fine, a £120 victim surcharge and £5,446 for causing a sewer to overflow and pollute a nearby watercourse. Chris Giles, Head of Network Operations for Severn Trent, said the situation was “totally avoidable” and that “in this case, simply installing a small grease trap could have prevented the situation”.*

    Grease traps are something that every foodservice operator should have in place, they are theStainless steel passive grease trap easiest and most effective way to avoid any chance of prosecution and large fines.

    Passive or manual grease traps work by slowing down the flow of wastewater coming from the kitchen. The trap’s tank acts as a reservoir and as the wastewater cools the FOG begins to rise to the surface as it is naturally less dense than water. Conversely, any food waste which is denser than water settles at the bottom. The rest of the wastewater is free to enter the drains, while the FOG and food waste remains in the trap to be collected later.

    Automatic grease traps  have a primary solids filter which can be emptied separately and a small container where all FOG that is syphoned away from greywater is held ready for disposal. Greywater is then free to pass through to the mains sewer system to a water treatment or processing plant.

    1. Use Less Oil

    Olive oil and olives

    Almost all types of food preparation and cooking produce waste FOG. But fast-food restaurants which use a lot of cooking oil are the worst culprits. Where possible it’s best to try to find an alternative to cooking oil. But for some types of food, this simply isn’t possible. Therefore, an easy way to try and reduce the amount of oil your business uses is to strain or filter the oil used in deep fryers to extend its life.

     

    1. Correct Storage and Disposal of Oil

    Make sure you store any waste oil in an air-tight container, so it doesn’t attract vermin, and keep it well away from any drains or sinks in case of leaks. Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Protection Act Regulations 1991 requires all commercial kitchens to recycle their waste oil.

    The Environment Agency issues “waste transfer notes” to the contractors licensed to collect your oil. For each load of oil they collect you’ll need to fill in either one of these notes or a document with the same information on it, such as an invoice. Alternatively, you can register online to create a season ticket for a series of loads. You’ll need to keep each of these documents in a safe place because you’ll need to produce it for an enforcement officer from your local council or Environment Agency if asked. If you don’t you could be given a £300 fixed penalty notice or face prosecution.

    You can find your local licensed waste contractor by going to environment.data.gov.uk.

    1. Get an Expert’s Advice

    It’s important to remember that water companies don’t issue fines lightly. Where there is evidence that FOG is being discharged, they will initially work with the business responsible to help them meet their legal requirement. Their principal aim is to educate and reduce, not punish. It’s only repeated offenders which receive the worst fines. So, if you think your business has an issue with FOG don’t try and hide it, get help!

    Our advice is a great start, but the most important thing is that everyone working for you knows how to get rid of waste from your kitchen properly. Helping them understand why this is important is the most effective way to avoid a fine.

     

    *Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire

  • Poor Grease Management and FOG – the Effects on Wildlife

     

    Two weeks ago, we looked at the environmental impact of poor grease management: how releasing FOGs into our sewers wastes resources and helps to pump greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

    This week, we’ll look more closely at the impact of reckless grease disposal on wildlife.

    Beginning with the Smellskunk

    We’ve talked about the tendency for uncared-for grease traps to develop a stink before – and we may guess the consequences of this stench on wildlife: a stinking kitchen attracts rats and other pests.

    The stench of rancid FOGs in small concentrations in the corner of a kitchen is nothing, however, compared to the stench given off by fatbergs which, gradually forming to block our sewers, trap and hold sewage in place to ferment and decompose.

    In short: pouring grease down our drains leads to an almighty stink in our sewers which bolsters the populations of the wrong kind of wildlife and makes infestations of vermin in our homes and businesses much more likely.

    Then There’s Sewage Overflow

    Fatbergs block our sewers. Blockages make our sewers overflow more regularly: when they do, to avoid raw sewage bubbling up out of our household drains, the sewage is sent straight into our waterways.

    Besides filling the water with pathogens – disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites – which threaten to infect and kill anything alive in or near the water, sewage also leads to Bear catching fish in a riversuffocation.

    That’s because, once in our rivers, the raw sewage decomposes aerobically with the help of bacteria. That means bacteria, breaking down the sewage, use up oxygen dissolved in the water - oxygen which the fish in that water needs to breathe.

    Those fish prop up an entire eco-system: small fish are eaten by bigger fish which are in turn eaten by birds and mammals. If the small fish vanish, the creatures that prey on them and the creatures that prey on their predators will all go too.

    And that’s not all…

    Sewage Overflow Has Subtle Side Effects

    Here’s one:

    Sewage tends to be rich in phosphates and nitrates - nutrients which promote plant growth.

    But this is not as good as it sounds. When an overabundance of phosphorus and nitrogen in fast-flowing river water feeds into stiller water, such as the water of canals, it causes a process called eutrophication.

    That means that, during spring and summer, blankets of green algae bloom on the surface of the water. Growing out of control, the algae soak up all the sun’s rays and starve all the other plants in the water.

    Then, as summer turns to autumn, the mass of algae dies off and decomposes – again sapping the water of its oxygen and helping to suffocate the critters which rely on that supply.

    Pollution spells disaster for the ecosystems which live in our waterways.

    river algae

    But There Is Hope:

    The Thames is a prime example.

    Centuries of pollution have left lasting scars on the river’s wildlife: the salmon which once populated the Thames are long gone and invasive species, such as Chinese mitten crabs, now reign supreme where native species once thrived.

    But the news is not all bad. Over the years, the Thames has been polluted and cleaned up repeatedly and, each time, much of the wildlife which had fled returned once the water was cleaner.

    It happened in the 1850s, when the river, barren of life, harboured cholera and an awful stench. After Parliament commissioned the building of the Victorian sewer system, the river cleared up and small fish such as the sprat soon returned.

    It happened again in the 1950s when the river was declared biologically dead. The destruction of the Blitz during the Second World War had meant that, for over a decade, sewage was once again being dumped straight into the river. But, once the sewage system was back up and running, the river began to clear up. By the 1970s, the water was deemed clean enough to attempt to re-introduce the long-lost salmon.

    The Wildlife of Our Waterways Can Bounce Back – If We Clean Up Our Act

    Stainless steel passive grease trap Stainless Steel Passive Grease Trap 36KGB

    Pollution can cause permanent damage to the ecosystems which live in our waterways. But, it’s important to remember that we aren’t struggling in vain.

    After a great deal of conservation work to undo centuries of pollution, the Thames is now home to a huge variety of fish and invertebrates which provide food for even more birds and mammals - including 138 seals.

    If we take care of how we dispose of our FOGs, we can help to keep it that way.

    Do your bit for our river critters – install a grease trap.

     

  • FOG, Grease Traps and the Law

     

    The modernisation of the food industry has seen a lot of improvements and additions to a commercial kitchen. Every year, more of these commercial kitchens and food joints are opened, all offering different cooking practices and cuisines to an ever-ready clientele.

    With commercial kitchens producing more food than ever before, waste becomes a normal occurrence. Some of the waste finds itself in our environment. This is an unavoidable and sad reality, yet from it, you get to enjoy a well-prepared meal from your favourite restaurant.

    Governments, in an effort to ensure that commercial food establishments are responsible for managing the waste, have come up with laws that enforce responsibility and ensure that the environment is not harmed.

    One such law pertains to FOG and Grease Traps.

    A considerable amount of food preparation techniques require the usage of oil and fats. Most of these oils and fats end up as waste which is then discarded from the kitchen through various means. Improper disposal of these waste materials can result in the formation of grease build-ups which in turn cause harm to the environment.

    Some of the effects of improper disposal of FOG in the environment include the formation of fatbergs. These, in turn, accumulate in drainage and sewerage systems causing blockages and potential damage to the environment and wildlife.

    People working in a commercial kitchen

    Grease Management Systems

    Grease management systems work by preventing fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from getting into the drainage systems where they can accumulate. Businesses are urged to be more proactive than reactive when it comes to grease management. This, they can do by installing proper grease management systems such as:

    • Grease traps- Also known as grease interceptor and grease recovering device. It works by collecting FOG before entering drainage systems. They come in different sizes to meet different drainage requirements.
    • Grease removal systems (GRUs) or separators- They separate FOG from grey water and collects it to prevent clogging.
    • Biological dosing- This uses bacteria to act on the grease and breaks it down before it enters the drainage system. It is ideal in situations where grease traps would cause hygiene concerns. Dosing units are installed to periodically release the bacteria and nutrients which the acts on the FOG.

    Each grease management system is effective for what they were designed to do. However, the results are not always 100%. None can guarantee that all FOG will be kept out of the sewers. Some businesses choose to double up equipment to increase effectiveness.

    Laws and Legislation on Grease Management

    Currently, grease management systems are not compulsory by law. However, catering and foodservice establishments are legally responsible for any blockages in the sewers directly linked or traced back to their premises.

    There is a number of legislation surrounding grease management. They include:

    • The British Building Regulations (document, section 2.21) which requires new build commercial food establishments serving hot food to install grease traps or separators.
    • The water industry act 1999 indicates that it is a criminal offence to allow any matter to enter the drainage systems which may impend the natural flow of waste matter
    • Section 59 of the Building Act 1984 states that a local authority can require satisfactory drainage. This makes it possible for the relevant authorities to enforce grease management mechanisms.
    • The Food Safety Act 1990 stipulates that any build-up or blockage caused by FOG in drains fails to comply with food hygiene regulations. Businesses found to be in contravention of this law can suffer heavy repercussions.

    These are some of the many laws that govern the handling of grease in commercial food establishments.

    Water companies run routine checks on businesses dealing with hot food to ensure that there is proper installation and usage of grease traps. This is to ensure that businesses whose actions can lead to the introduction of FOG in drainage systems are compliant with the set standards. They can and will issue fines should a business owner neglect using the right grease management systems.Food being dipped in hot oil

    Grease Management Practices

    Normally, FOG is introduced into the drainage systems through various practices carried out in the kitchen. Practices such as dishwashing, cleaning of floors and sanitation practices might end up pushing some of the spilt FOG into these systems. It is why grease management is advised.

    Grease management doesn’t just have to be the equipment that you buy and install. While such equipment is important in ensuring that FOG does not end up in drainage systems, it is also important to note that you can take come counteractive measures to reduce that amount of FOG that lands in the grease traps.

    Remember, just because a business has installed a grease trap doesn’t make it immune from prosecution should a fatberg form. If the grease management system isn’t correctly installed or is neglected in terms of cleaning and maintenance it will be useless, allowing FOG to filter into public waterways. Businesses can still be prosecuted if it is proven that their ineffective grease trap has contributed.

    This is why it is important to incorporate these Best Management Practices in your business. It is also important to ensure that your staff is properly educated on these helpful practices. This also includes:

    • Using proper signage such as “NO GREASE” in front of sinks and dishwashers as a constant reminder. This acts as an ever-present reference for people working in the kitchen.
    • Educating your staff on how to handle old cooking oil. Practices such as ensuring that the collection barrels are covered and airtight at all times to prevent spillages and contamination.
    • A simple instruction to cooks and chefs on being conservative when using some of these cooking oils can also go a long way in reducing the amount of FOG finding itself in the drainage systems.
    • Viable and edible excess food can also be donated to prevent wastage. Some of the grease and oils used in preparing these foods will end up in drainage systems if the food is discarded.

    There are a number of in-house practices that can reduce/limit FOG entering the sewer. These include:

    Dry Clean-up

    This involves first wiping, scrapping, and sweeping of kitchen surfaces and equipment before introducing water. You can easily use a rubber scraper on cookware, utensils, serving ware, and chaffing dishes before washing them. Food grade paper absorbs oil in frying utensils thus reducing the amount of grease that may be discarded into the drainage systems.

    Use paper towels for surfaces to eliminate grease. Cloth towels might not be ideal for this kind of an operation because cleaning them will introduce FOG into the drainage system anyway.

    Do not pour any grease and oils down the drain.

    Dirty dishes

    Prevent Spills

    Spills are a common occurrence in busy commercial kitchens. These can be avoided by keeping the workplace clean and dry at all times. This prevents accidents.

    Cover food when cooking if possible and ensure that food transportation from one point to the other or from one utensil to the other is carried out using the right equipment to prevent spillages.

    Proper Management of Grease Management Equipment

    While grease traps and GRUs are ideal, there is little they can do if routine maintenance is not carried out. This also includes ensuring that they are properly fitted. Cleaning them regularly to prevent the stockpiling of trapped FOG will also raise the hygiene standards of your drainage system.

    Recycling

    It is possible and advisable to recycle waste cooking oil and use it for other purposes. In the UK, this practice is mainly carried out by the environment agency however other licensed contractors are available.

    Save for the reusing practices in many kitchens, old cooking oil is collected in containers and turned into other usable fuels.

    For example, vegetable oil can be turned into motor fuel through a process known as hydrocracking and hydrogenation. These processes aim at turning them into fuel such as diesel. It is usually referred to as renewable or green diesel. It can also be turned into oils used for heating processes.

    Cooking oil being poured into a bowl

    Use the Right Dishwashing Practices

    A 3 sink dishwasher system is ideal in this situation. It basically involves three steps of cleaning which ensure proper grease management. Utensils are first taken through Pre-wash, wash, and rinse stages.

    Every utensil should be wiped clean before being loaded into a dishwasher. This gives you the chance to collect all grease and oils into one place for proper disposal.

    For automatic dishwashers which use hot water, setting the right temperature is always advised. If the water is too hot then the grease will melt and slip through grease traps before cooling down on the other side, potentially bypassing any grease trap you have in place.

    Mind sewer drains

    This is applicable when cleaning equipment such as grease hoods and filters. While they should be cleaned to prevent eventualities such as kitchen fires caused by greasy surfaces, always ensure not to clean them near drainage systems where waste product and residue can accumulate.

    Proper Grease Management is good for you

    Installing a grease trap or a grease recovery unit (GRU) is not only important for your business, but it is also a show of responsibility for a business owner. Installation and appropriate grease management saves money, not only for the water companies who pay the bill for clearing fatbergs but also for the public and businesses who ultimately foot the bill when these additional costs are filtered through to the general public in an increase to water rates.

    You will, therefore, save more by installing a grease trap or GRU because then you will avoid heavy fines from water companies. Additionally, you have peace of mind that you’re doing your bit for the environment.

     

     

     

  • Poor Grease Management and FOG – the Effects on the Environment

     

    The idea of the climate breaking down is a terrifying thought – and it can be difficult to see how small acts can add up to create such a huge problem. Poor grease management is, nevertheless, part of that problem. Let’s take a closer look… 

    It All Begins with An Inefficient KitchenBottle and bowl of oil

    Letting fats and oils go to waste, by cooking with more oil than we need and failing to re-use as much as we can, is not only bad for our bank balances.

    Those wasted fats and oils have got to come from somewhere: whether we are talking about animal fats or plant-based oils, we are talking about the end product of a long agricultural and industrial process, both of which see massive amounts of energy expended and tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere, contributing to the climate crisis which we are now experiencing.

    Remembering that oil doesn’t just cost money, it costs carbon, and keeping waste to a minimum is one small, easy step which we can all take to help avoid the breakdown of the natural world: know how much oil you need to use, don’t use more and re-use what’s leftover. 

    Then: Don’t Block the Drain

    Though it might be inevitable that some will slip and slide down the plughole, letting fats, oils and grease go down the drain is never a good idea: FOGs block pipes.

    If your drains are blocked, you are much more likely to pour a whole load of drain-cleaning chemicals down your sink.

    Just like the fats and oils themselves, those chemicals have got to come from somewhere. Just like the fats and oils, those cleaning compounds are the end product of a long industrial process which also expends a huge amount of energy and also releases tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

    Keeping blockages to a minimum by being careful to avoid FOGs slipping down your sink is one more way to protect the planet.

    In the Sewers

    Goslyn GOS40 GRUAnother way to save the world is to install a grease trap or grease removal unit.

    Without one, the fats and oils which do go down the drain flow straight through into the sewer (together with those cleaning chemicals).

    In the sewer, fats, oils and grease congeal in the cold and solidify, slowing the flow of sewage before eventually snowballing into fatbergs which clog the sewer altogether.

    We know that fatbergs make it more likely that our sewers will overflow, releasing raw sewage directly into our waterways.

    But fatbergs also amplify the toxicity of the sewage: they trap and hold everything which tries to flow past in place, from human waste and food deposits to wet wipes, condoms and drugs.

    In the sewer’s cool damp conditions, without much oxygen, harmful strains of bacteria thrive with plenty of time to anaerobically break down what is in the sewage, producing toxic by-products.

    The environmental impact of this increase in toxicity comes into play when we try to…

    Clear Out the FatbergWater jet

    Fatberg extraction usually means a small team working for weeks with high-powered jet hoses to break down the berg. Usually working at night, they need lighting for the street and for the sewer. Then they need vans burning fuel to cart off chunks of the berg to a sewage treatment plant. This is a lot of energy which would not need to be used if it wasn’t for the fatberg.

    On top of this, fatbergs make sewage treatment far less efficient. The more toxic the sewage and the more solid the matter, the more processing that sewage needs: this means more energy and more industrial chemicals (like chlorine) need to be used to treat it.

    What comes out the other side will not look so pretty, either. When dealing with a fatberg, a lower proportion of clean water and a higher proportion of the waste product or sewage sludge will be produced than if the treatment plants only had to deal with the 3Ps (pee, poo, paper).

    What Can We Do?

    Thames Water and Argent Energy have teamed up to convert fatbergs into biodiesel, meaning that at least some of those sewer blockers can become fuel.

    While this does off-set the energy required to deal with the fatberg problem, however, not having a fatberg problem in the first place would be much better for the natural world.

    Install a grease trap or grease removal unit – and come back soon to read about the impact of poor grease management on wildlife.

     

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