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  • Putting Unruly Fatbergs to Good Use

    The Origins of a Fatberg

    Life has changed dramatically from centuries ago – even basic advancements in our daily activities, such as the use of soap, wet wipes and the introduction of different cooking techniques are now taken for granted. While making the world an easier and more comfortable place to live, these advancements often carry with them a number of disadvantages. At times, these disadvantages cause more harm to the environment than bargained for.

    The by-products from this modern lifestyle are increasingly showing themselves in the formation of the newly coined term for the environmental scourge known as a fatberg; a collection of solid waste from our daily consumption which forms in sewer lines of major cities around the world. Other than causing blockages in the aging sewer system, which at times can even cause material damage, these fatbergs can also harm wildlife.

    Fatbergs are made up of something called FOG (fat, oil and grease). It is a combination of oil, grease, fat, and solid items such as baby wipes, make-up and sanitary pads, nappies, hair and so much more which combine and congeal to create blockages, ranging from inconsequential lumps to gargantuan masses. This waste usually originates from waste products incorrectly disposed of from homes and commercial food service businesses, this waste unable to be broken down and so mostly collects in drainage systems.

    Busy city street

    Increase in Fatbergs in Cities

    Years of using non-biodegradable materials in millions of homes and businesses and incorrectly disposing of kitchen products, is increasingly showing its effect on the environment. The unhealthy habit of pouring fats and oils down sinks, which ultimately solidify and merge with waste materials, is proven to be the cause of fatbergs. Densely populated areas where high concentrations of waste are produced, are a prime breeding ground for these increasingly common phenomena.

    Cases of fatbergs being discovered in sewers, some as big as 64 metres, have been discovered in various cities. London’s largest fatberg; the Whitechapel Fatberg, whose last remains lay in the Museum of London , weighed 130 tonnes and stretched to more than 250 metres. The mass contained different kinds of waste materials such as nappies, wet wipes, condoms, fat and oils.

    This is, of course, a great nuisance to water companies who have to clear sewer systems as it takes workers days, even weeks of hard work to clear these obstructions and at great cost.

    Using Fatbergs for Good

    Green bio sign

    Recent avenues and developments, that have been investigated in reaction to the fatberg problem, have shown that it is possible to turn fatbergs into useful materials. Scientists have, in the recent past, discovered new ways to deal with fatbergs. This is done by turning these masses of waste into biodiesel. Biodiesel is a clean fuel which can be used in motor vehicles, commercial transport vehicles and airlines and produces less pollution in the atmosphere. New regulations are urging companies to increase the volume of biofuels being used by 2020 as a means to tackle climate change.

    The production of biodiesel involves turning the fats and oils into useful by-products. These fats and oils can sometimes make up to 40 percent of a fatberg. The process is rather simple and effective.

    The fatberg is collected and put into a pit where it is heated to liquefy the fats and oils. The fats and oils are then taken through a cleaning process which involves getting rid of all solid waste such as debris, sludge and slime. Water is also removed before the oil, which is now pure, is turned into biodiesel through the addition of chemicals.

    While the process of turning fatbergs into biodiesel is tried and tested, it is fairly new and does not completely address the fatberg problem. This means that fatbergs will still continue to clog sewers and affect the environment for some time to come.

    The creation of biodiesel leaves a lot of waste behind since not all elements of the fatbergs are used up. This can easily be handled through a process that allows the creation of methane gas which burns to release water and minimal levels of carbon dioxide.

    The waste is put in a biodigester before adding hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide works to digest any organic matter, thus reducing the size of the fatberg. It then leaves behind the non-bio degradable solid matter such as food wrappers and other general waste. The anaerobic bacteria in the digester reacts on the material left behind to produce methane.

    Handling the Fatberg Menace

    While treating fatbergs and turning them into useful environmentally friendly materials is a great idea and just one solution to the menace they cause, it is not the ideal solution. Treating fatbergs is like making the best out of a bad situation. The process costs time, money and resources.

    Goslyn GOS40 GRU Goslyn GOS40 GRU Automatic Grease Trap

    The best way to prevent these gross formations from causing harm to the environment is by not making them in the first place. This can be done through education of both domestic and commercial properties on the causes of fatbergs and how they can be avoided and also by reducing the amount of non-biodegradable materials produced such as single-use plastics and wet wipes. It also entails installing grease traps to prevent fats and oils from getting into drainage systems through disposal of waste down the sink in commercial food establishments.

    While these scientific treatments may treat and deal with the effects, it doesn’t remedy the course or the source of the problem. Ultimately these processes are reactive and not proactive to a completely preventable occurrence.

    Fatbergs are less likely to disappear from beneath our cities as long as large quantities of non-reusable products continue to be sold to consumers and people remain ignorant of the impact of their actions. Management however, is important to make sure that the repercussions on the environment can be limited and the best is made from a bad situation.

     

  • Anatomy of a Fatberg

     

    Ever thought about where that residual juice, fat, oil and grease from cooking equipment, trays and plates goes once it’s disappeared down your sink? Despite what many people think, it doesn’t just wash cleanly down the pipes to a treatment centre.

    Foundations of a Fatberg

    Once cooled your fats, oils, grease (also referred to as FOG) and juices solidify and congeal in pipe work. This, on its own, wouldn’t exactly be ideal but when combined with flushed items (which shouldn’t actually be flushed) such as wet wipes, sanitary products, contraceptives and cotton buds etc. a complex fusion is created that can develop into gargantuan proportions. What might begin as a minor nuisance can mature into a colossal blockage, costing time and money to remedy.

    A fatberg is formed.

    Are There Any Other Contributing Factors?

    Although the emphasis is placed on FOG mixed with solid matter, there are other elements that may contribute to the problem. Household items such as soap and essential oils etc. can all add to the problem – even claimed that the type of loo paper used can play a part.

    The general advice is to only flush the Three ‘P’s’ – pee, poo and paper, but even that may be in doubt if some reports are to be believed. Some are of the opinion that areas that pay a bit more for plush toilet paper are at greater risk of blockages; the thicker, quilted paper being harder to break down (although this is not evidenced).

    What Are the Effects of Fatbergs?

    When the sewer system is blocked, any overflow that can’t continue through the pipes creates pressure, potentially leading to blocked toilets and drains and the possible rupturing of ageing pipe systems. Any excess effluent that hasn’t got anywhere to go is flushing out into public waterways, the waste littering coastlines. This isn’t just an environmental hazard but poses a threat to wildlife.

    Where Do They Form?

    Victorian sewer

    Anywhere. Although mainly a product of highly populated areas, fatbergs have cropped up in less dense regions. Notably the most recent discovery was in Sidmouth; a relatively quiet seaside town.

    The problem isn’t just with what’s being flushed down toilets and sinks but also the substandard UK sewer system. First installed in the Victorian era when the population was considerably less and the day to day lives of society didn’t produce nearly as much waste, they just weren’t designed to cope with the demands of the modern world. The original structures in London were equipped to deal with the then populous of circa 4 million however have never been updated or modernised, so it’s not surprising that it can’t cope with the ever-multiplying population of today that’s approaching 9 million.

    Combatting Fatbergs

    Highlighting Bad Habits

    Although commercial foodservice businesses are highlighted by water companies as major contributors, being investigated and fined where an offence has occurred, blame shouldn’t only be restricted to your local restaurant or take-away.

    Bad habits are just as prevalent in the domestic arena. It has been reported that 4 in 10 residential premises within the Thames Water jurisdiction still pour oils, fats and grease down the sink, even though fatbergs and the known sources are more publicised than ever.

    People may think their little contribution won’t make a difference to the situation, but when everyone thinks the same, that’s when it turns into a massive issue.

    Reactive Response

    People imagine fatberg formations to be soft, squishy masses but surprisingly they are more like concrete. When a blockage is located, it requires high power water jets, pickaxes, shovels, drills and a whole lot of elbow grease to clear the way through the solid structure.

    A plan of action is formulated, teams are dispatched and the blockage is removed, although the whole process can take many weeks and even months.

    According to Water UK, there are approximately 300,000 blockages in UK sewers every year. That is estimated to cost water companies (and indirectly, the tax payer) up to £100 million to remedy.

    Rather than just react to the problem, a long term solution needs to be based around prevention rather than cure.

    Proactive Solution

    Educating domestic and commercial premises is essential.

    In the domestic sphere, flushing of the unflushables has been well publicised, with environmental consequences being made clear. Every perpetrating household can’t be brought to justice and so part of the solution has to rely heavily on common sense and the acceptance of responsibility by the public.

    In an attempt to help combat the fatberg phenomenon and the contribution of solids to theStainless steel passive grease trap problem, a new standard has been announced regarding ‘flushable’ wet wipes. Many so called ‘flushable’ items have been proven to be anything but, however this new testing aims to bring clarification to what can and can’t go down the toilet. The hotly anticipated ‘fine to flush’ logo will be awarded only to products that pass more rigorous testing. This comes off the back of Water UK’s information that non-flushable items are thought to contribute to almost 93% of sewer obstructions.

    Cooking juices and FOG ending up down the sink can be moderated and dramatically lessened with good grease management protocol. All plates and cooking utensils should be scrapped of waste food and wiped free of any residual juices before being rinsed. Any excess that does find its way into the drain can be caught with the simple installation of an appropriate grease trap.

    While presently grease traps aren’t required in domestic premises, they are strongly recommended and advised in commercial catering operations. Although other countries enforce strict rules for grease trap compliance, in the UK they are still only a recommendation … at the moment. It is soon believed that they will become a mandatory fitting in new and existing commercial properties.

    Fatbergs are increasingly posing a real threat to communities, the environment and wildlife. By educating the public and businesses and giving a greater understanding of what exactly fatbergs are and how they can be prevented, this is one problem that we can all combat together.

  • Whitechapel – Just the Tip of the Fatberg

     

    The Whitechapel Fatberg | Less Famous Fatbergs | What We Know About the Perfect Fatberg Breeding Ground | The Aftermath of a Fatberg | Education is the Key | Renewable Energy Source

    Following the well publicised discovery of what is thought to be the UK’s largest fatberg on record in Whitechapel 2017, the issue of congealed masses of public waste has hit the headlines. Build-ups of fats, oils and grease (or FOG, as it’s known in the industry) held together with baby/wet wipes, sanitary products, nappies and a whole host of other household items, became big news. This was a new phenomenon to the majority of the population, one thought unlikely to be repeated anytime in the near future.

    Rather than being an anomaly, a once in a lifetime story, this has become worryingly common, not just on a national level but on a global scale. Past stories began to emerge detailing the full extent of the problem. Unfortunately, with the emergence of yet another obstruction to the UK sewer system, this time in Sidmouth, it’s become evident that this is now an ongoing crisis worldwide.

    The Whitechapel Fatberg

    The Whitechapel monster captured the public's attention for its sheer unimaginable size, the grotesqueness of its creation and the absurdity that the scale of fascination led to a chunk being displayed in the Museum of London. While the new arrival to the fatberg party isn’t as large as its predecessor, it does highlight the necessity to tackle the source of these fatbergs head on with the public and businesses taking responsibility for their actions and considering the effects of their ‘flushing’ antics and disposal methods for kitchen waste.

    The bare bones or integral frame of a fatberg is heavily reported to consist of products that the public flush down the toilet on a daily basis. Solidified FOG, mainly from commercial foodservice businesses, acting as the glue to hold the structure together. The general public, captivated by the idea of something so disgusting lurking in the depths of cities, began to grasp the seriousness of the Whitechapel situation – the cost involved in clearing the blockage, the damage to the environment and wildlife and the potential compromise to the structural integrity of the sewer system.

    Other stories of past formations began to come to light. The fight against the fatberg was gaining momentum.

    Less Famous Fatbergs

    When? Where?
    August 2013  Kingston-upon-Thames
    September 2014 Melbourne
    April 2015 Chelsea
    July 2015 Welshpool, Wales
    August 2017 Belfast
    September 2017 Baltimore
    September 2018 Detroit, Michigan
    October 2018 Charleston, South Carolina
    February 2019 Liverpool

    What We Know About the Perfect Fatberg Breeding Ground

    London

    Fatbergs are typically thought to be native to heavily populated areas where large quantities of all the essential elements combine to create monstrous masses beneath the streets. Aggravated by outdated sewer systems that weren’t designed to handle the excesses of today’s modern world, ingredients build-up and grow to critical levels, eventually causing blockages, damage to pipework and potential leaking of raw sewage on surface level.

    Fact: ‘fatberg’ isn’t a technical term but more a pet-name given by the ‘flushers’ (the brave work force who strive to keep the sewers clean). It only entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017.

    The most recent case in Sidmouth is a surprising one considering what we know, or think we know, about fatbergs. While findings in large cities such as London, Melbourne and New York are expected, the coastal town of Sidmouth is far from a stereotypical site. Does this suggest that the fatberg problem is wider spread and a greater threat than everyone first feared?

    The Aftermath of a Fatberg

    After the initial finding and assessment of the situation, detailed operations are put in place to deal with the issue at hand. Clear up takes weeks of intensive manual labour, using shovels, pickaxes, drills and high-power jets, costs reaching in to hundreds of thousands of pounds. It has been likened by the courageous work force behind the clean-up operations as tackling concrete rather than the expected soft gooey mess. Unfortunately taking on a fatberg can cause disruption to the local area whether through sewer problems or traffic blocks being put in place.

    Water authorities have been tackling the issue discreetly for years, however now, they are taking a much tougher stance. Specialist teams have been dispatched, opening investigations to discover the source of FOG entering the sewers. Any business found to be contributing can be ordered to pay hefty fines to cover the costs of clean-up.

    Most recently, a Nottingham based business has been handed a hefty fine after it was established that it was the cause of repeated problems and blockages in the area. In January 2019, the restaurant was ordered to pay a fine of £8,419 including costs and victim surcharge. The installation of an appropriate grease trap and adequate maintenance from the outset could have made the whole situation avoidable. Similarly, last year a Shrewsbury restaurant admitted to blocking the sewers with fats, oils and grease and was ordered to pay over £9000.

    Education is the Key

    The education and understanding of the general public and foodservice businesses is the best hope for being victorious in the war against the fatberg. Putting only the three ‘p’s’ down the toilet (pee, poo and paper), employing strict grease management systems and installing Manual grease trapappropriate grease traps are all vital steps to halting the attack on the worlds sewers. Something as simple as a grease trap, whether manual or automatic, installed between the premises waste water system and the public sewer can help exponentially.

    It’s vital that once a grease trap is installed it is appropriately maintained to optimise FOG entrapment. Detailed records must be kept and ready for inspection on request of the local water authority.

    Perceptions need changing. It shouldn’t be about the convenience of pouring waste down the sink or flushing unacceptable items down the toilet, more about the population’s inherent responsibility to the planet.

    It is undeniable that people and businesses are now more aware of the ecologically damaging effect of their actions. Although every new finding creates a stir and brings to light the important issue of fatbergs and how they come to being, it is still unclear whether their time in the limelight will have enough of an influence on the way businesses and the general public dispose of waste to have an impact on fatberg formation.

    Renewable Energy Source

    It’s not all doom and gloom. On a brighter note, research is ongoing into how fatbergs can be turned into a useful, renewable energy source. Specialist plants have devised a way to break down the fatberg, separating the solid elements such as wet wipes, which are responsibly disposed of, and the oil and grease. These notorious F.O.G base products are then turned into biodiesel - green energy for positive use.

    Even a fatberg can have a silver lining.

    *As of February 2019, the newest discovery in the UK has been made in Liverpool. As is the stereotypical trend, this 90 tonne beast measuring a reported 84 metres in length has formed in the highly populated city where domestic and commercial waste meet on a massive scale. This is thought to be a new record for any fatberg found in the North West, further demonstrating and highlighting the necessity for everyone, from households to businesses, to act responsibly and consider the very real and damaging consequences of their actions. 

  • Tis’ the Season to be Foggy

    1. Proactive Not Reactive
    2. Why Spend Money on a Grease Trap
    3. Refine Kitchen Processes
    4. Brush Up on Housekeeping
    5. Educating the Nation

     

    Christmas, widely celebrated as the season for cheer and goodwill to all men, but what about the aftermath of the festivities; those lurking beneath the streets?

    It’s a time for decadent menus with lashings of roasties, meats and sauces but also, inevitably, a time for a potential increased output of fats, oils, grease and solids into the public sewer system. Businesses and households are busy rustling up festive feasts but the by-products can be disastrous for pipework.

    The possible increase in FOG isn’t the only thing that’s cause for concern; the cold weather doesn’t help matters. Fats, oils and grease solidify more quickly in pipes when the temperature drops during winter (or fatberg season). With detrimental elements all coming together to create a perfect storm…or fatberg, there’s plenty to contend with at this time of year.

    With the hospitality and foodservice industry entering one of its busiest times of year, it’s time to refine kitchen grease management procedures and make sure that the only thing getting clogged up this Christmas is Santa as he makes his way down the chimney.

    Proactive Not Reactive

    Goslyn GOS40 GRU

    Don’t wait for the effects of a FOG build-up to make themselves known, either through a back-up of waste or the local authority knocking at your door. Install appropriate grease traps where possible and be part of the solution, not the problem.

    With passive (or manual) grease traps, chemical dosing equipment and automatic GRUs (grease recovery units) available there are plenty of options on the market. Each designed to effectively deal with and combat FOG in its own way, there’s an interceptor to cope with any sized kitchen and flow rate. Find out how different traps work and the basic principles to ascertain which is the best option for any foodservice operation.

     

    Why Spend Money on a Grease Trap

    It’s a valid question. There’s often claims of ‘We operate strict grease management procedures – we don’t put FOG into the system, so why should we pay out?’ Or assumptions that ‘The local water authority would never know we’d caused the problem even if FOG did end up in the public sewer!’ These are dangerous standpoints to take. Unfortunately, the vast majority of businesses will release at least a small amount of FOG into the sewers and water authorities do have their ways to ascertain the source of any blockages. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part.

    The price of a grease trap is substantially less than the sewer cleaning costs and potential fines issued if a company is found to be leaking FOG into the drainage system, even if it is done inadvertently.

    No Grease Management Process is Infallible

    Regardless of how competent staff are with regards to grease management, some FOG will always make its way into the drains albeit in smaller quantities. Whether through sauce residue being rinsed down the sink or grease on cookware not having been thoroughly wiped, it’ssewer inspection surprisingly easy to let some unsavoury substance slip through the net.

    Can’t Slip the Sewer Sleuths

    Water companies can and will trace the origins of fatbergs. Using a combination of cameras and good old detective skills to follow the FOG trail, they have tried and tested methods to decipher where FOG has entered the sewer - and they will follow up findings. Holding the power to impose warnings and fines as documented in UK legislation, Water Industry Act 1991 subsection 3 they are committed to cleaning up foodservice practices.

    Conservation Not Contamination

    The impact of FOG on the ecosystem is widely reported and people are more aware than ever of the damage caused, from contamination of local waters to the threat posed to wildlife. By businesses investing in appropriate grease traps this damage can be minimised.

    In addition to grease traps there are other potential areas to think about to reduce a business’s environmental impact.

    Refine Kitchen Processes

    Fats, oils and grease come hand in hand when operating a foodservice business; it’s inevitable. Found in the primary culprits of kitchen oil, residual juices and cooking waste, it’s also hiding in sauces, dressings, spreads and dairy; all common things typically rinsed down the sink.

    Cooking Techniques and Equipment

    If reconsidering the menu is a bit too much to ask, try refining cooking techniques where possible. Could chefs employ alternative methods, reducing frying where possible or opting to use equipment that conveniently collects or atomises fats and grease such as the Synergy Grill?

    Oil Usage and Filtration

    Addressing the quantity of oil used in a kitchen can be a great way to reduce potential FOG output. Less oil means less potentially entering the drainage system.

    Investing in quality filtration such as Vito is the ideal solution for businesses that use large quantities of oil during cooking such as fish and chip shops and take-aways. Filtration allows it to be reused, extending expected lifespan and decreasing costs.

    Brush Up on Housekeeping

    When addressing kitchen processes and refining grease management, it’s the perfect time to make sure that general housekeeping in relation to FOG prevention is in order.

    Cleaning Traps

    Where passive grease traps are installed, it’s vital to carry out regular cleaning. Automatic GRU’s that collect separated FOG should be tended to daily. Giving appropriate care and attention to equipment will guarantee the ongoing productivity and efficiency of grease interceptors.

    Storing FOG

    Reassess waste oil and FOG storage. All fats, oils and grease should be contained in a suitable airtight receptacle away from food preparation areas and sewer access points. Storing waste near drainage systems means that any accidental spillage could see all the hard work of collecting and securing FOG, literally end up down the drain. All kitchen by-products must be responsibly disposed of by a licensed contractor. For information concerning services in a particular area, get in touch with the local authority.

    Breaking News! FOG doesn’t just go down the drainkitchen extraction

    Everyone concentrates on the damage that fats, oils and grease do to the sewer system but that shouldn’t be the only area of concern. FOGs also accumulate in extraction systems causing safety issues in the kitchen and potential fire hazards. When considering grease management don’t skip on the cleaning and maintenance of extraction, ventilation and ductwork.

    The regularity of cleaning will depend on the level of usage the kitchen experiences.

    HVAC Equipment  

    Kitchen Usage    

    Cleaning Regularity

    Ductwork  Light duty (approximate 2-6 hrs p/day Approx. every 12 months
    Medium duty (approximate 6-12 hrs p/day Approx. every 6 months
    Heavy duty (approximate 12+ hrs p/day Approx. every 3 months
    Premises with heavy FOG production will require more frequent cleaning
    Extraction Hoods & Filters Recommended daily

    *Please Note: Always refer to manufacturers manual which takes precedence*

    Educating the Nation

    Although people are now more aware of the presence of fatbergs and the causes that contribute to their creation as a result of increased media coverage, there are still some that may not appreciate the full implications.

    The UK as a whole currently spends an estimated £80 million every year on clearing fatberg deposits; a massive amount that could be spent elsewhere. Education is the key to tackling this very real issue, on a local and national scale.

    Common Misconceptions

    Water in sink

    ‘FOG pours neatly down the sink, how can that become the congealed mass shown on the news?’

    FOG, when warm will take on liquid form, slipping easily down drain pipes and into the sewer system. Problems arise when these fats, oils and grease cool: solidifying and mixing with solid waste such as wet wipes, sanitary products and nappies etc. This small inconvenience grows and evolves until it becomes a significant blockage that can take months to clear.

    ‘I pour hot water down the sink after FOG to flush it through, so I’m not contributing to the problem.’

    It’s true that hot water flushes through fats, oils and grease however it just pushes the problem further down the pipes. The hot water keeps FOG in liquid form for longer hence it travels further through the system however even this will cool at some point resulting in the same issues. No fats, oils, grease or solids should enter sewers full stop.

    Staff Training is Vital

    It’s important that businesses address grease management by investing in appropriate grease intercepting equipment however educating staff about preventative measures and highlighting why strict adherence to procedures is vital, is just as essential to combating fatbergs.

    Explaining the consequences and highlighting the wider concerns better illustrates why following grease management processes is critical not only to the business but the environment. The rules are there for a reason.

    Basic Rules for Good FOG Prevention

    • Fully scrape plates removing any residual solids, sauces or condiments etc.
    • Dry wipe plates with kitchen towel and dispose of in the bin. This removes any fats, oils and grease that may still be on the plate after scraping.
    • Only when the plate is completely clear, rinse in the pot wash sink where a plug strainer is in position and an appropriate grease trap or grease recovery unit is installed. It’s important to use a strainer in sinks to catch any errant solids.
    • Any FOG from cookware and equipment should be poured into a suitable container and sealed ready for collection.

    Top Tip; Consider putting up posters around pot wash areas to remind staff of proper practice and periodically carrying out refresher courses. All grease management should be reconsidered and revised regularly to ensure optimum results are being achieved.

    Keep Detailed Documentation

    It’s essential (in fact it’s part of legislation; Environmental Protection Act: Duty of Care: Section 34) to document all grease management procedures and keep detailed records. This evidence will be required during inspections.

    If a blockage occurs in the local area, businesses should have documented evidence to prove that suitable grease management is in place and that proper processes have been followed.

    Everybody’s Problem

    It’s not just typical foodservice businesses that need to address practices. Although take-aways are generally considered to be the highest producers of FOG, other premises must also address their operations.  Schools and educational establishments, canteens, hotels, B&B’s (think of all those full English breakfasts), prisons and other correctional facilities must all consider themselves accountable.

    Domestic residences may not contribute as much FOG as commercial premises but are still a large factor in sewer blockages. While legislation at present only stipulates commercial properties, domestic addresses should also be aware of the repercussions of their actions. Often disposing of FOG down the sink in the form of sauces, soups, butter, cooking juices and oil etc. and flushing solids other than the recommended ‘3 P’s’ (pee, poo and paper) down the toilet, domestic properties must also sit up and take notice of the situation; not leave it all to the businesses.

  • Should You Connect a Commercial Dishwasher to a Grease Trap?

      1. Grease Management at Christmas
      2. Grease Traps and Dishwashers
        1. What's the problem?
        2. Placement is key
        3. What size do I need?
      3. We recommend

    At the onset of one of the busiest times of year, professional kitchens are under immense pressure in every sense. Tackling extra stock in the kitchen combined with extra tables to be served, all whilst fulfilling the high expectations of guests are just some of the challenges without even starting on the quantity of extra dishes and cookware that need washing.

    Menus will be packed with traditional fare including pigs in blankets, a good selection of meats, roast potatoes and roasted vegetables; Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them. Unfortunately, the side effects of these festive favourites is an increased production of fats, oils and grease (or FOG).

    Grease Management at Christmas

    Kitchens should be employing good standards of grease management throughout the year. This includes scraping foods into the bin, dry wiping plates and cookware and swilling in sinks, underneath which appropriate grease traps are fitted according to guidelines. But what about other FOG residue that could potentially worm its way into the sewer system from unexpected sources that haven’t been accounted for?

    Bearing in mind the increased quantities of FOG during this time of year, Christmas is theChecklist perfect opportunity to revisit grease management solutions and make sure all bases are covered.

    If operating a commercial pot wash section and warewash as intended there should be little need to install a specific trap solely for this equipment. The correct procedure involves the scraping of food waste into the bin, dry wiping of plates and cookware to remove excess fats, oils and grease before spraying in the pre-wash sink. Any residual FOG left after scraping and wiping will go down the sink to be collected by the grease trap there. Tableware should effectively be ‘clean’ and free of FOG or other contaminants before going into the dishwasher; the dishwasher only used to sanitise crockery, cookware and cutlery.

    Having said that, every area of the kitchen should be viewed as potentially susceptible to FOG production from combination ovens to ware washers. Staff in pot wash areas, even those with the strictest measures in place, could be tempted to cut corners during a busy Christmas service where high turnover demands a continuous influx of clean crockery. Any lapse in concentration could see FOG that would otherwise be taken care of and disposed of correctly, entering the dishwasher and therefore the sewer. Not only could this have a negative impact on the operation of the dishwasher but it also spells bad news for the drainage system, especially when there is no defence in place against this direction of attack.

    Although grease traps are typically associated with under sink positioning or in external locations (as is the case for high capacity businesses), can they also be used in other situations?

    Grease Traps and Dishwashers

    The big question most kitchens ask is ‘can grease traps be fitted to commercial dishwashers’? Unfortunately, it’s not that straight forward hence there are conflicting opinions and advice surrounding this topic.

    In theory, there is no reason why a trap or separator can’t be fitted to a dishwasher, as long as it is of suitable capacity to cope with the large flow rate. The overall effectiveness of the system however is the issue that causes debate. Ultimately how well the interceptor performs is determined by the final position and situation of the unit in relation to the warewasher.

    What’s the Problem?

    The main issue is that the high water temperature ejected from the dishwasher mixed with detergent could hinder the successful operation of the FOG management system.Clean plate

    Dishwashing detergents are designed to break down grease and therefore could potentially begin breaking down FOG in the interceptor. High temperatures could heat solidified FOG, returning it to a fluid that can travel farther into the sewer. This doesn’t prevent possible fatberg production, just passes the problem further down the line where it will again solidify and cause blockages. If a trap isn’t ‘trapping’ then it’s effectively redundant.

    These points, whilst viable don’t mean that grease containment solutions can’t be effective when working in conjunction with a dishwasher. Correct positioning however, is vital.

    Placement is Key

    A grease trap should never be installed too close to a dishwasher. The high flow rate and hot temperatures can prevent the effective separation of FOG, potentially forcing any fats, oils and grease already contained straight through to the sewer. The sheer volume of water flushed through the system could result in the bypassing of preventative measures completely, rendering them ineffective.

    The water expelled from a dishwasher generally sits between 50°C and 80°C. At these temperatures the FOG present in effluent will remain fluid, any fat already stored in the box potentially melting. Passive and mechanical systems rely on the cooling and solidification process to successfully capture FOG; difficult to achieve when combined with high temperatures.

    Commercial dish washer

    In order for an interceptor to be effective fats need to be contained for long enough at the right temperature for them to solidify. Grease management systems should therefore be positioned with enough distance between the dishwasher and the trap to allow water to sufficiently cool to regular effluent temperatures before entering the interceptor.

    What Size Do I Need?

    Some operations may opt to install multiple smaller traps around the kitchen to serve individual equipment. Alternatively, a large single unit could be installed to service the kitchen as a whole. Fittings and appliances will often all be connected to a main drain; all waste directed to the same outlet before entering the public sewer system. In some circumstances, this could be the perfect position for a trap to catch debris from a commercial dishwasher. It’s far enough away from warewashing systems to allow for water to have cooled and it will encompass all kitchen equipment, meeting all FOG containment requirements. If opting for this set-up it’s vital that the system installed is large enough to accommodate effluent from the entire kitchen and meet the combined flow rate of the business as a whole.

    Top Tip: It’s imperative to install a trap capable of dealing with the connected flow rate. A site survey is strongly recommended to assess individual needs and ascertain the right solution for each individual kitchen.

    We Recommend

    One product on the market that can withstand potential high temperature effluent is the Goslyn grease recovery unit. This is a non-mechanical GRU that doesn’t require FOG to solidify to operate effectively. The Goslyn automatic grease trap instead employs its own heater to maintain the fluid state of fats, oils and grease before utilising hydro-static pressure to force FOG out and into a separate container. It is this difference in operation from standard traps that makes it ideal for use in conjunction with a commercial dishwasher.

    Legislation states that any effluent leaving a commercial kitchen that could potentially contain FOG must pass through a grease trap. Technically all dishwashers should be connected somewhere along the line according to guidelines however it is the placement of this grease interceptor and how it is set-up that determines its effectiveness.

  • Clearing the FOG After Bonfire Night

     

    You’ve enjoyed the bonfire, marvelled at the fireworks and indulged in delicious food to warm the cockles in the chilly evening; Bonfire night is complete for another year. The fog may be clearing after the fireworks but what about the FOG below your feet?

    The Season of the Fatberg

    Hotdog

    Although fatbergs can form at any point throughout the year, late autumn and winter offer prime conditions to cultivate the real monsters. Cold weather will often lead the population towards hearty foods, dishes typically associated with more FOG producing potential. Warming classics such as stews, roasts and soups are a regular occurrence with Bonfire night alone seeing a marked increase in greasy favourites such as burgers and sausages a decent helping of fried onions. Unless impeccable levels of grease management are continuously practiced, there’s a good chance of higher quantities of FOG being introduced to the sewer system. More FOG = more fatberg building materials.

    This time of year also sees dramatically colder weather. A drop in temperature leads to sewer pipes being generally colder, meaning that FOG solidifies more quickly. Rapidly solidifying FOG means fatbergs are formed in less time. Combine this with the increase in fats, oils and grease and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    An Ongoing Battle

    Fatbergs aren’t a new phenomenon and appear to have been a concern as far back as the Victorian era when the idea of a grease trap first came into existence. There are multiple cases around the country at any one time; some not yet developed enough to cause issues, others so large they pose obstruction risks. Not only blocking sewer systems and causing untold damage to underground structures, fatbergs also potentially threaten hygiene and health with harmful bacteria reproducing freely. Just because we only occasionally hear about the gargantuan masses, it doesn’t mean that they’re not always there – the problem goes much deeper.

    Think along the lines of Ghostbusters 2 with something evil and fetid spawning beneath our feet. Instead of a freely flowing river of slime, picture a congealed bulk waiting to attack and burst forth onto the streets. Grease traps both passive and automatic are the super heroes ready to save the day by preventing fatberg ingredients from amassing in the sewers.

    The obvious breeding grounds for supersize fatbergs are highly populated areas where a Populated areavariety of premises converge; places where commercial and domestic buildings go hand in hand. High quantities of FOG from foodservice businesses combined with sanitary products and wet wipes etc. from domestic residences, hotels and hospitals merge in the outdated sewer system to create the prime spot for fatberg formation. The pipework beneath major cities is under continuous scrutiny, with teams on the lookout for any potential problems before they arise.

    It falls to water companies to take up arms and tackle these rancid beasts. The only way to clear congealed aggregations of waste is by hand with the help of pressure washers, shovels, a great deal of protective clothing and a whole heap of elbow grease (the non-fatberg forming kind). The unwavering dedication of water companies, in particular the ‘flushers’ (an affectionate name for the people on the front line) is what keeps our sewer systems in good working order. The unrecognised protectors of our sewer systems, it is they who have the responsibility of hunkering down to tackle the monstrosities lurking in the depths. The sheer scale of the problem and work involved comes with a price tag though.

    The Cost of Fatbergs

    The cost of clearing fatbergs and repairing any damage within a specified zone falls to the national water company responsible for that area.

    The accumulative figure for the UK as a whole to stay on top of fatberg formations is currently estimated at an eye-watering £80 million. This figure isn’t divided equally however; the budget for each authority in no way directly proportionate to the square miles it covers. Obviously, regions with more heavily populated areas must budget for a greater expenditure as they naturally tackle a higher total amount of effluent.

    SewerThames Water alone estimates it spends approximately £1 million every month within its jurisdiction. This staggering amount only covers the cost of clearing blockages alone without taking in to account any damage caused by fatbergs, the potential disruption to traffic and the pungent smells likely to invade the area. Although Thames Water isn’t the biggest authority based on square miles, it primarily consists of large, built-up, densely populated areas where the prime ingredients for fatbergs are in abundance.

    Scottish Water reportedly spend around £6.5 million per year on clearing blockages and while it services the largest land coverage, it includes vast remote areas where FOG won’t necessarily be an issue.

    It’s these exorbitant sums that have led to authorities clamping down on the main offenders - foodservice businesses. Any new business set-up is required to install appropriate grease trap protection. Whilst not compulsory for existing businesses, it is strongly urged to address current grease management procedures and take action to limit the amount of effluent ending up down the drain.

    Teams of investigators (fatberg busters, if you will) are on the case, monitoring the situation and tracing blockages back to the source. If a blockage occurs and is successfully traced back, massive fines can be issued to cover the expense of clearing and removal. Kitting out commercial kitchens and catering operations with suitable grease traps could avoid experiencing large potential payouts in the future.

    What’s Next?

    Unfortunately, while people remain oblivious to the results of their actions, fatbergs will always be an issue. Education is the key. Teaching businesses and homes about the dangers of FOG and informing of simple grease management procedures and grease trap equipment to prevent fatberg creation, this is a battle we can and will win. The first step has already been taken, with the media highlighting fatberg reports and getting people talking. Detailing the clearing costs involved and the generally disgusting nature of the results, it’s time to use the public’s strange fascination with the gruesome to capture their attention; using the lure of the repugnant to highlight this very important issue.

  • How Does a Grease Trap Work?

    A Brief Introduction to Grease Traps…Getting up to Speed

    Grease trap noun – def. ‘: a trap in a drain or waste pipe to prevent grease from passing into a sewer system’ Source: Merriam-Webster.com

    Having recently become somewhat of a buzz word in the commercial foodservice industry and often associated with the terms fatberg and FOG (fats, oil and grease), grease traps are not a new thing. Surprisingly, the idea of a grease trap specifically designed to prevent fats, oils and grease from entering the sewer system, has been around since the Victorian era (late 19th Century) where it seems that troublesome drain blockages also appear to have caused issues. These first primitive boxes are what all grease traps today are based on.

    Important Legislation

    UK Water Industry Act 1991 section 111

    “…no person shall throw, empty…into any public sewer or into any drain…communicating with a public sewer, any matter likely to injure the sewer or drain, to interfere with the free flow of its contents…” Source: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/56/section/111

    All businesses must work within the law. Installing an appropriate grease trap is essential to ensuring every commercial kitchen complies with regulations.

    How Do Grease Traps Work?

    The primary feature of a grease trap is to prevent any untoward kitchen matter (anything other than water) from entering the sewer system; this includes FOGS and food debris etc.

    There are different types of grease traps for commercial kitchens on the market, often being broadly broken down into two main sections - passive/manual traps or automatic separators/GRUs (grease recovery units). Whether attached to sinks, ovens, warewashers or elsewhere in the kitchen where FOG is produced, grease traps will perform the same basic function, all be it with slightly differing approaches.

    The size of grease interceptor required will depend on the flow rate of fluid through the kitchen either through sinks, warewashers or equipment; low flow rate = smaller trap, high flow rate = larger trap. With a full range of sizes on offer to suit every flow rate, the basic design works in the same way whatever the dimensions.

    Manual Grease Traps

    Typically a durable stainless steel or epoxy coated steel box designed to trap grease until cleaned out.

    How passive grease traps work

     

    • Waste water or effluent enters the grease trap and fills the tank
    • A system of baffles may be used to slow down water and allow FOGs to cool and effectively separate
    • Solids settle/sink. Some models may have a strainer to catch solids, reducing quantity settling in the bottom of the trap
    • FOG floats (being lighter than water)
    • Outlet syphons water through to the drainage system

    FOGS and solids sit in the trap until emptied and cleaned (a task advised when the box is approximately 25% full). The stagnant waste can often lead to bad smells, increased risk of pest infestation and risk of unsanitary kitchens…not ideal. Passive grease trap cleaning, whether carried out manually or with a pump, isn’t an appealing task and it’s always advised to allow professionals to do the job (although this will lead to ongoing operational costs). Be aware that if passive grease interceptors are neglected for too long they will become ineffective as the tank fills with FOG.

    Passive grease traps can be positioned above ground, typically where the source of FOG is or underground in an external location. Whether opting for a small indoor or large outdoor model, traps will function in the same way.

    Did you know? In kitchens where FOG production is high, it may be beneficial to double up on grease management systems. While traps will remove a hefty amount of FOG from waste water, they aren’t 100% foolproof. To maximise effectiveness and minimise FOG ending up in the sewer, two traps can be placed side by side; any unsavoury elements escaping the first trap will be caught by the next. It’s always recommended to have a site survey carried out by an expert; they’ll let you know what you need and make sure grease management solutions are as effective as possible.

    Dosing Systems

    Dosing systems are sometimes used in conjunction with passive grease traps. Consisting of biological treatments made-up of enzymes and bacteria, the solution is introduced to the system prior to effluent entering the grease trap. Helping to break down FOG, dosing systems and dosing pumps are not a standalone grease-busting solution, instead designed to enhance function of the basic trap.

    Automatic Grease Traps

    Automatic grease separators are often considered a more sophisticated grease removal system, solids and grease being separated from grey water into collection containers ready for daily disposal.

    How a Goslyn automatic grease trap works

     

    • Waste water enters the grease trap
    • Passes through a filter that collects solids
    • Water mixed with FOG flows through to main chamber
    • Non-mechanical GRUs such as Goslyn units will have a small heater to prevent FOG from cooling and solidifying; utilising hydro-static pressure to force FOG out into external oil container. Mechanical models allow FOG to cool and separate to the surface (as with passive) however regularly skim the top layer into a separate collection container
    • Water continues the journey into the sewer via the outlet, unaccompanied by any unwanted additions

    FOGs and solids are effectively separated into independent containers and can be easily disposed of by members of staff without needing to shut down the kitchen and experience enforced down time. A major benefit of automatic grease separators is that they continuously remove FOGs to maintain the ongoing efficiency of the trap.

    The fatberg problem is an issue at a domestic and commercial level however commercial foodservice premises will often produce considerably more offending material, with takeaways typically being the biggest contributors. Often the escape of fatberg ingredients from commercial kitchens isn’t intentional; businesses are just unaware of how working practices are creating a problem. The education of businesses and staff (and effective grease management solutions) is key to combating the rise of the fatberg once and for all. Make sure your kitchen is prepared.

  • Product Spotlight: The Goslyn Grease Recovery Unit

     

    The Goslyn Brand | GRU Mechanics…or Lack of Them | More Than Effective Separation of FOG | Models in the Goslyn Range

     

    Grease traps have emerged on to the market in a big way what with the public’s attention being drawn to those hideous fatbergs clogging up sewer systems. To tackle those immense conglomerations of fats, oils, grease, baby wipes and condoms plus anything else people deem to throw down the drain, businesses need a tried and tested product that’s up to the job.

    Enter the Goslyn Grease Recovery Unit!

    Here we put the Goslyn GRU in the spotlight and discover exactly why this grease trap system is so acclaimed.

    The Goslyn Brand

    Goslyn is a trusted brand within the grease trap industry. Based in the US its impact has been felt around the world, being used by many major, big-name operators. Its popularity and success is undoubtedly due to its effectiveness and efficiency in managing fats, oils, grease and solids (FOGS) in foodservice operations.

    Providing the last major line of defence against the onslaught of FOG, never before has the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ been more apt. The experts at Goslyn have developed a range of grease recovery devices to make this philosophy a reality.

    GRU Mechanics…or Lack of Them

    Acknowledging that FOGS are notoriously damaging to the environment and the sewer systems, Goslyn have made it their mission to design and perfect the manufacture of grease interceptors that perform to exceptional standards with a 99.6% separation rate. The outcome of all their dedication and hard work is a grease management solution that successfully filters solids of 2mm+, separating fats and oils and ejecting nothing but water into the drainage system. Leaving nothing to chance, all GRUs in the range also feature a manual flush valve to remove any fine residual sediment that may have escaped the primary filter.

    “The Goslyn Separator is a patented, immiscible liquid separator which operates under hydro static pressure and has no moving parts.” Goslyn Environmental Systems

    Sounds complicated right? Well, it isn’t.

    The design consists of a primary filter to remove solids; the first point of contact for effluent entering the trap. Following this filtering process, the oil and water mix travels through to the main chamber. The liquid is heated to prevent fats, oils and grease from solidifying; the FOG naturally floating on the surface of the water. This is where Goslyn utilise the science behind hydro static pressure to force FOG up through the oil valve and through to the collection container. Any fine particulates sink to the bottom ready to be manually flushed out daily. All remaining water continues through the outflow and into the sewer system free of fatberg feeding materials.

    Breakdown of Goslyn grease recovery unit design

    More than Effective Separation of FOG

    While the Goslyn grease recovery unit is undeniably effective at preventing kitchen cooking waste from obstructing drains, they also offer so much more.

    Cleaning

    Gone are the days of the messy cleaning associated with passive (aka manual) grease traps. Cleaning the system is simple and can be carried out in house by any trained member of staff. It takes just a couple of minutes per day to empty the solids filter, flush any additional particulates from the main chamber and responsibly dispose of all accumulated FOG. This can be disposed of together with other used kitchen oil for total convenience. An additional benefit is a reduction in the odour typically occurring in passive tanks. As FOG is continuously removed and particulates either filtered or flushed, organic matter doesn’t sit stagnant in the tank causing a stink.

    Efficiency

    All automatic grease traps are considered more efficient than manual alternatives. As passive models store and hold FOG until emptied, a point will eventually be reached when the trap will no longer be effective until after cleaning has been carried out. FOG is continuously removed from a GRU making it capable of efficient performance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Design

    Heavy duty construction using high grade 304 stainless steel guarantees an end result that is durable, hard-working and built to last.

    Compact in design with a minimal footprint, these acclaimed grease separators are suitable forGoslyn Grease Separator both small and large kitchens that need something unobtrusive but still capable of delivering massive performance.

    The design lends itself to versatile positioning; generally wherever there’s FOG, a Goslyn grease recovery unit can be installed. Equally effective whether placed below a sink, connected to a dishwasher or even used in conjunction with combi ovens or rotisseries, performance is always guaranteed.

    All grease systems use a standard three pin plug, requiring only minimal electrical power to operate the integrated heater (so don’t worry about big electricity bills). The heater is essential to warming the waste water and maintaining the fluidity of FOG to effectively assist and facilitate efficient grease separation.

    As a non-mechanical system, these units benefit from no moving parts. This means there’s less to break or go wrong, resulting in a simple, straight forward grease management solution. There’s no need for the use of chemicals; just the natural flow of effluents will suffice.

    No hassle, minimum fuss, maximum result.

    Industry Compliant

    As you would expect from any big set-up, the Goslyn series fully complies with industry codes to guarantee that businesses are always protected. All products are capable of reducing FOG below 100ppm, well below industry standard guidelines. With so many certifications backing up the brand, businesses can always be confident that they’re investing in quality equipment that works.

    Goslyn certifications

    Models in the Goslyn Range

    • A Trap for Every Flow Rate

    The needs of every business will differ depending on the size of the kitchen, the equipment that the GRU has to serve and the litres per minute flow rate typically experienced. To accommodate all variables Goslyn have a range of capacities available to meet all demands. Choose from GOS20, GOS40, GOS60 and GOS80, each increasing in size and suitable for any scale of business. Also on offer is a low profile model where the height to the outlet is reduced.

    • Can Be Retrofitted

    Thinking of installing a Goslyn automatic grease recovery unit? There’s no need for a whole kitchen make-over. All traps can be easily retrofitted into any premises allowing everyone to take advantage of this popular grease management system.

    • Manufacturers Warranty

    With a massive 5 year warranty supplied as standard, confidence in the product and the brand is instilled.

    Grease traps have never been more essential in the foodservice industry and so should be considered an investment just like any other piece of commercial catering or refrigeration equipment. While the initial investment of automatic units is higher than manual alternatives, remember that there will be no ongoing costs incurred thereafter such as cleaning, chemicals and pump out costs etc. Goslyn grease separators are proven to generate savings – something that every canny business loves to hear.

    For more information or to discuss options get in touch with our sales team today and take the first step to a cleaner, healthier drainage system and environment.

  • How Automatic Grease Removal Units are Better (and Cheaper) than Passive Grease Traps

     

    Fats, oils and grease clogging up the sewer pipes have made big headlines in recent years with great emphasis placed on the importance of effective grease traps and grease management systems. This is especially important for commercial foodservice operations where FOG’s will typically be found on a greater scale. With a little research into the arena of grease traps it soon becomes apparent that there are two main types of systems – passive (manual) or automatic (grease recovery units).

    Greaseshield Automatic Grease Trap Greaseshield 1850 Automatic Grease Trap

    Grease Removal Units (GRU) also known as automatic grease traps have the same primary function as manual alternatives. Both designs deal with FOG and prevent troublesome fatberg ingredients from entering the sewer system. There’s no question that employing a grease trap of some form is better for your business and better for the environment.

    Both models separate FOG, solids and water within the tank. By slowing the flow and letting the waste water cool, each element naturally isolates and separates – solids sink, water remains in the middle and FOG’s float. It is how each of these elements is dealt with once they have been isolated that differentiates between a passive and automatic grease interceptor. So, is one system better than the other? Read on to find out…

    Why Choose Automatic Grease Removal Units?

    Elaborating on the Grease Combatting Process

    It’s already been established that the core principle of a grease trap is the same, whatever the design however a GRU takes the process a little further.

    Whereas manual units will simply contain and hold kitchen nasties until cleaned out, automatic units will systematically skim the top layer of the tank where the FOG sits, depositing it into a collection container. The contents of the container can be disposed of easily (and responsibly) when necessary without needing to open up and access the interior of the grease trap.

    Any solids get caught in the filter – the first point of contact in the grease trap for grey water. This filter is readily accessible and can be easily removed for disposal of solids.

    Water is free to continue flowing through to the drainage system minus any harmful bits that could potentially cause a blockage.

    Savings that Add-Up

    It’s undeniable that a GRU is more expensive to buy than a passive trap, but consider the biggerPiggy bank savings picture. In the long run automatic systems prove to be much more cost effective.

    Yes, they may cost more initially and they require daily maintenance (although it’s minimal) to empty the solids filter and FOG collection container. Some models also need an electricity supply to power and carry out the programmed skimming of FOG (albeit only generating low running costs). However even with all of these factors taken into consideration, over the course of 3+ years the potential savings that can be made are substantial. Any member of staff can perform in-house maintenance rather than hiring specialist services and there should be no need for a costly in depth kitchen sanitisation after each clean. You can also rule out potential loss of earnings resulting from kitchen down time. Surely this will make the extra set-up expense worthwhile?

    Performance, Efficiency and Convenience

    While cost is obviously a major factor that needs to be considered when choosing a grease trap it shouldn’t be the only point of reference. Automatic GRU’s are simple to use, convenient to install and reliably effective at preventing FOG from clogging up the pipes. Throw in reduced odours (FOG doesn’t sit stagnant in the tank) and easy cleaning then the question becomes ‘Why shouldn’t you choose an automatic grease removal unit’?

    Basic ScienceScience molecules and flasks

    The more grease there is in a grease trap, the less effective and therefore efficient it is. As GRU’s remove FOG from the tank into a separate container on a daily basis there’s never that hefty build-up of grease that there would be in a manual unit. This makes automatic GRU’s undisputedly more efficient at dealing with effluent materials than manual alternatives.

    Passive Grease Traps

    As the quantity of grease in the tank increases over days and weeks, performance and efficiency will decrease with a sudden decline experienced when the trap is full (signifying that the trap has stopped working).

    Automatic Grease Recovery Units

    As grease is separated and removed from the trap regularly, the quantity of FOG present at any one time is minimised. The quantity of grease in the tank remains relatively low enabling performance and efficiency levels to remain high; much more effective at keeping fatberg contributors at bay.

    Helping to Make the Right Decision

    Investing in the most suitable grease trap, especially when choosing to go automatic, is a big decision. Not only does it benefit the business as a whole and contribute to a healthier environment but can also mean the difference between abiding by legislation and incurring a hefty fine.

    To guarantee that the right decision is made a site survey is recommended.  UK Grease Traps Direct can arrange this service free of charge to assess the type of grease trap required and the size and quantity needed. Get in touch today for more information.

  • Grease Trap Cleaning and Tips for Grease Management

     

    How to Clean Out a Grease Trap | How Often Should a Grease Trap be Cleaned? | Top Tips and Best Practises for Efficient Grease Management

    With so much publicity surrounding the discovery of a giant fatberg beneath London’s streets you’ll undoubtedly already know how important grease traps are, especially within commercial catering operations and the foodservice industry. These simple unassuming metal boxes play a massive part in preventing fats, oils and grease (aka FOG) from entering the sewer system, causing massive damage to drainage infrastructure and the environment overall. Brushing up on the basics surrounding grease traps and understanding the critical need to take grease prevention seriously will not only preserve the environment but could also protect your business from potential fines and, in some cases, imprisonment.

    The journey taken by FOG can be retraced from the grotesque end result back to the source meaning that investigators can enforce legislation where necessary. Businesses are no longer able to hide behind outright denial of responsibility; if a business disregards the legislation they will be held accountable.

    So, you’ve made the decision that your business needs a grease trap. You’ve calculated the size required based on contributing factors such as the number of sinks in the kitchen and the overall flow rate passing through the grease trap. You’ve decided on the specific type of grease traps for commercial kitchens, they’re all correctly installed and working as they should – that’s the hard work done, right?

    Ongoing maintenance and cleaning of the grease trap is just as important as the crucial decisions made at the beginning of the process. If grease traps are neglected they will not work effectively or efficiently. Just because a kitchen has a grease trap installed it will not make them immune to fines. If the trap is deemed to be ineffective due to incorrect installation or improper cleaning for example, the business will still be liable. This further reiterates why correct cleaning and maintenance is vital.

    How to Clean Out a Grease Trap

    Whatever type of grease trap your business has installed, passive or automatic, they need to be cleaned albeit with differing frequencies and potentially using different methods. Cleaning can be dirty work and it’s essential to do it properly so it’s advised to use a specialist company with relevant certifications if possible.Cleaning pump

    While larger grease traps, typically positioned externally of the building, above or below ground will require use of pumping equipment by a trained specialist to get the job done, cleaning of smaller units can be carried out in-house if preferred.

    TOP TIP: Whether cleaning grease traps yourself or using a specialist company, it is a legal requirement that disposal must always be carried out by a licensed waste contractor.

    PLEASE NOTE: We strongly advise hiring a professional service, in fact we advise against doing it yourself, minimising the risk of prosecution due to incorrect procedures.

    A Basic Guide to DIY Grease Trap Cleaning

    • Let any water cool before cleaning.
    • Wear appropriate clothing and respiratory protection including overalls, gloves, goggles and mask.
    • Protect the surrounding floor to limit potential contamination of the kitchen.
    • Open up the tank, carefully prying off the lid being sure not to damage the gaskets or seals. Some boxes may have bolts to unscrew while others may have fasteners which need to be undone.
    • Measure the quantity of FOG waste in the trap using a ruler or gauge. Take note of anySafety equipment measurements as this will be needed to complete paperwork later.
    • Remove any sludge floating on top of the tank.
    • Use a small bucket or scoop to remove any water from the tank.
    • Scrape out solid FOG’s using a separate bucket or scoop. (It’s best to have a dedicated tool used for this purpose only)
    • Remove baffles and scrape the interior surfaces of the tank as well as all components. A specialised vacuum can be used to help get rid of smaller debris. Remember to check the inlet and outlet pipes for any residual debris.
    • Use room temperature water to scrub and clean the walls, base and lid of the grease trap.
    • Clean baffles making sure all holes are clear and unobstructed.
    • Run clean water through the trap. If water doesn’t flow as it should there may be a blockage further up in the pipe – you’ll need a plumber to sort it.
    • FOG’s are packed with bacteria so it’s vital to seal any FOG securely in a leak free container ready for responsible disposal via licensed waste contractors.
    • Inspect all components including lid gasket. Replace any necessary elements.
    • Reinsert all components back into the grease trap and securely replace the lid.
    • Complete records and mandatory forms and file away safely ready for inspection as and when required.

    How Often Should a Grease Trap be Cleaned?

    Whether you choose to clean your grease trap yourself or employ the services of specialist companies to do the dirty work for you, you’ll need to know how often cleaning should take place to make sure grease interceptors remain effective.

    Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules to cleaning. Regularity will be dependent on the type of grease trap installed, the level of usage and the total flow rate of water being put through the system. General advice is to monitor traps regularly, perhaps once a week to start with then tailoring the frequency of checks based on results.

    Manual or passive grease traps are more labour intensive and will require regular in depth cleaning. Once the lid is removed, contamination could occur from the bacteria laden FOG so Quarter full tank gaugeit’s recommended that kitchens undergo a deep clean after every opening – a hidden expense that will mount up over time.

    Automatic grease traps or grease recovery units (GRUs) are considered less hassle in relation to cleaning and can work out cheaper in the long run. Only requiring in depth cleaning every couple of months depending on usage, these models are generally the preferred choice of water companies.

    TOP TIP: Never wait for FOG to be spilling from your interceptor; your system should never be allowed to fill to capacity instead being cleaned when approximately 25% full.

    All traps need to be cleaned, maintained and serviced to make sure they are still performing effectively and doing the job they were designed to do. If you find that you’re cleaning and emptying interceptors far too often, you may need to reconsider whether your current installation is still suitable for your grease management needs – you may find that you need to upgrade.

    Top Tips and Best Practises for Efficient Grease Management

    Taking a proactive stand point in the fight against FOG is much preferred over a reactive response. You’ve taken the first step by installing a grease trap, next is to employ best practises for efficient grease management. By enforcing a few rules surrounding the control of fats, oils and grease in the kitchen, you can reduce the quantities being introduced to the drainage system and effectively deal with the FOG that does end up there.

    Incorporate these actions into your current kitchen procedures;

    Scrape any food waste into the bin before washing plates

    Wipe plates, pots and cookware etc. to remove excess fats, oils and grease before rinsing

    Reduce oil usage where possible

    Work out a comprehensive cleaning schedule and more importantly, stick to it

    Always maintain detailed paperwork including information about when grease traps are cleaned out, by whom and the method of disposal. Remember to log the quantity of FOG found in grease traps at every cleaning and keep records of the company that carried out disposal.

    There are many other good techniques for effective grease management however these are recommended as a good starting point.

    For information regarding specialist cleaning contractors in your area contact your local authority.

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