According to research, more than 70 percent of drain blockages within a commercial kitchen are caused by the build-up of FOG generated from washing pots, pans and plates. FOG is a composition of saturated fats (meat, dairy, eggs) unsaturated fats (olive, peanut, sunflower oil) and food waste. Approximately 15ml of FOG enters the waste stream for each plate of food. This means that for every 100 plates 1.5litres of FOG enters the waste stream.
Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) does not just cause problems in local drainage systems – it causes major issues for sewer networks.
The reduced capacity of the network caused by FOG accumulations can lead to surcharges where sewers are forced to ‘overflow’ into rivers, streams and beaches. Many major utilities have set up task forces to address the problem and are adopting a ‘polluter’ pays principle.
Fat, oil and grease cost the UK Water industry an estimated £15M per year (Source – Anglian Water).
Anglian Water estimate that 10,000 tonnes of fat, oil and grease enter the drainage system each year alone – reducing the sewer capacity by up to 10% (Source – Anglian Water).
The Environment Agency estimate 75% of sewer blockages are caused by a build-up of FOG (Source – Environment Agency).
The Environment Agency estimate that Sewer Blockages account for over 100,000 environmental incidents each year. (Source – Environment Agency.
Thames Water reported that in 2007/2008 over 60,500 sewer blockages reported were caused in part by FOG. (Source – Environment Agency).
Severn Trent Water clears around 50,000 blockages a year and fat contributes to the majority of those as it binds together all of the other things that end up in the sewer rather than the bin and creates huge lumps which block the sewers.
Over 10 million tonnes of food and drink waste is produced each year in the UK.
When running a commercial kitchen, we understand the importance of compliance to legislation in order to run your business as effectively as possible. With our team of FOG management and drainage experts, you can rest assured that legislation will be followed correctly whilst you are provided with a service of the very highest standard.
There are 6 laws and regulations governing the disposal of food waste fat, oil and grease and preventing it from entering
drains and sewers. Failure to adhere to these can lead to enforcement and prosecution. For more info check out info about FOG legislation here
To ensure that your commercial kitchen abides by the correct waste legislation and that your establishment is able to deal with grease and oils appropriately, we offer a comprehensive solution that can be tailored to the needs of your business.
Our team of grease management experts have put together a list of tips and best practices for correctly managing FOG:
Dry wipe and clean excess food off cookware and plates before washing them and dispose of food waste with other solid waste. This will greatly reduce the amount of FOG going into your grease management solution and ensure it functions more effectively.
2. Use A Waste Food Strainer
Food debris can quickly build up in the drains restricting the wastewater flow. By using a waste food strainer, you can prevent even small grains of rice entering the drain. Food collected in the strainer must then be emptied into a rubbish bin.
3. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Make sure that your grease management equipment is regularly checked and maintained according to the operating instructions. Certain products require daily or weekly actions to be carried out by staff in addition to the routine servicing by our grease management specialists.
4. Keep A Record Of FOG Management
It is important to keep a log of all grease management maintenance and routine actions by staff, problems encountered, and work carried out by professionals as this will help you fine tune your grease management processes and optimise your service intervals.
5. Arrange For Waste Contractor To Collect Recycled Oil
If your kitchen has an automation grease recovery unit (GRU) installed, it is vital that your employees are using it correctly. Never tip the waste oil collected in the oil cassette back down the drain. Instead the waste oil captured by the grease management system should be stored in a separate container or drum and arranged to be collected by a waste oil contractor. Certain GRU’s such as the GreaseMaster, has very minimal water content and is suitable for use in the production of biodiesel, making it a very sustainable solution.
Find out all you need to know about our FOG management in our frequently asked questions.
The Water Industry Act 1991 (Section 111) gives the water companies the power to bring a criminal proceeding against anyone who causes injury or inhibits the free flow of the sewer network. FOG are included in this; therefore it is within their power to prosecute for FOG contamination. They also have the power to ‘recharge’; this is when they charge users of the sewer network with any costs involved in clearing blockages or resolving environmental issues due to floods as a result of blockages. These charges can be considerable. Water Companies can also work with their local government offices, specifically Environmental Health, to bring about ‘improvement orders’ and ‘prohibition orders’ to force a site to improve their practices.
Landlords, Local Government (Environmental Health, Food Standards), Environment Agency.
FOG – Fats, Oils, Grease. Produced in kitchen environments during the preparation of food. Tends to congeal and harden and sticks to the inner lining of drainage pipes and creates blockages. FOG requires active interception and treatment to prevent costly environmental problems. A Single pot wash produces in 48h the amount of 7.04 Kg food waste and 3.75L FOG to drain.
All kitchens produce wastewater that contains some fats, oils and greases (FOG) as well as food debris. The wastewater from commercial kitchens tends to contain a higher proportion and volume of FOG than domestic. If this wastewater is not managed in some way then these FOG can be detrimental to the drainage/sewer network. This is a contravention of Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991.
Grease Management is a term given to products/services that trap and/or treat the wastewater to reduce the amount of FOG within it before discharging to sewer.
There are 3 types of grease management product that trap and/or treat wastewater to reduce the FOG contamination:
Also known as separators or interceptors, these products physically trap the FOG within them and allow the cleaned wastewater to pass through.
Grease Removal Units (GRU)
These have the same initial function of a grease trap with additional processes which remove food debris and FOG into external containers for separate disposal
These add a biological element to the drainage system that is designed to break down the FOG into less harmful products.
All of these options are only effective if they are properly maintained. A combination of all of these options can be implemented.
You can install or have installed Grease Traps, GRUs and Dosing Systems to your kitchen equipment or drainage and ensure that they are properly maintained. Some will require maintenance by site staff and others by professional grease management specialists. The most important aspect of any grease management equipment is the maintenance. You can also follow the best practice guidelines developed by Water UK Disposal of Fats, Oils, Grease and Food Waste Best Management Practice for Catering Outlets.
The dosing enzyme system is your low-cost, sustainable, fit and forget solution. This clever machine injects enzyme and grease digesting bacteria into your waste system. It is fully automated and provides a precise release of enzyme into your drains at the appropriate time, greatly reducing the possibility of creating a blockage and saving you the expensive repairs, maintenance, and fines.
• Pot Wash Sinks & Dishwashers
• Oven’s Discharging to Drain
• Makes you completely compliant with current ‘Environmental Legislation Acts’.
• A total managed system which requires no input from the user.
• Hassle free mobilisation, all equipment installed in minutes by one of our trained technicians.
• It is a complete Fit & Forget sytem.
• Planned return visits throughout the year to fully maintain system and replenish enzymes.
• All battery powered – does not use any mains power.
• Helps prevent costly blockages and bad smells.
In a word, YES! Excessive FOG in wastewater congeals in collection system pipes, thereby decreasing their capacity and increasing the need for frequent, costly, and time consuming pipe cleaning to keep things flowing along. It may also necessitate replacing some piping sooner than otherwise expected. The resulting downtime and bottlenecks in your kitchen will have a financial impact, as well as an impact on the ability of your staff to perform their normal duties.
Fats, oils and grease also have an impact on wastewater treatment plants. Grease congealing in settling tanks form rancid skins, and blockages in digesters and other pipe works may necessitate shutting down wastewater treatment units. Problems caused by catering waste have resulted in legislation governing the discharge and disposal of grease matter into waste water systems. This type of waste requires the installation of preliminary treatment facilities, commonly known as grease traps or interceptors.
A grease trap is a reservoir built into the wastewater piping a short distance from the grease producing area. Baffles in the reservoir retain the wastewater long enough for the grease to congeal and rise to the surface. The grease can then be removed and disposed of properly.
Grease traps can range in size from small under counter units at the point of use, to large units with a few thousand gallons capacity serving multiple cleaning points. Larger units are often located on the exterior of the building. The important thing is that the capacity of an interceptor, and the rate of flow provides adequate residence time for the wastewater to cool, thereby allowing the grease time to congeal and rise to the surface where it accumulates until it is pumped out.
A grease positive separation device is similar to a grease trap, but in addition to separating the FOG, it uses a mechanical process to remove it off the surface, making it easier to dispose of without opening and emptying the grease trap each time.
A dosing system injects enzyme and grease digesting bacteria into your waste system. Dosing systems are generally fully automated, and provide a regular and measured release of enzyme into your system at appropriate timed intervals, greatly reducing the likelihood of expensive repair and maintenance through improper or irregular use. There are certain systems which also introduce water during the dosing cycle to help evenly distribute the enzyme through the whole system.
Any establishment that introduces FOG into the sewage system in quantities large enough to cause line blockages or hinder sewage treatment is required to have a grease management system. Grease interceptors are usually required for high volume restaurants and large commercial establishments such as hotels, hospitals, factories, or school kitchens. Grease traps are required for smaller establishments. Medium volume establishments may be required to install an interceptor depending upon the size of the establishment and its catering activity. Dosing units will introduce active enzymes and grease digesting bacteria into the system which will help to break down solid fats and other contaminants. A dosing regimen used in conjunction with an intercepting device, will increase the effectiveness of the system.
Cleaning a grease trap or interceptor is dirty work. It requires special receptacles, and the waste must be legally disposed of. Smaller units can be scooped out, but larger units require special pumps. Great care needs to be taken to avoid spillage, which can contaminate other areas of the kitchen. Ideally this is a job for a specialist contractor who can empty, clean and service your units at regular intervals.
How regularly equipment is cleaned and maintained depends entirely on the volume of use, and how food waste is handled and disposed of on the premises. If an establishment has to empty and clean their equipment too often, the owner should evaluate the effectiveness of food and grease handling practices, and should consider installing a larger trap or interceptor or a dosing system. All grease interceptors should be cleaned at least twice each year. If a grease trap is not maintained regularly it will not provide effective grease removal. The establishment should work out a specific cleaning schedule that is right for its volume of business and specific circumstances. All grease traps need to have the grease cleaned out periodically and no one likes to do the job. It is a dirty job. Running extremely hot water down the drain only moves the problem further downstream. It does not go away. Catching the grease at the source, and cleaning it regularly is the most economical means to reduce all costs.
If an establishment uses grease and oil in food preparation, it will eventually encounter a maintenance problem with a blocked building sewer line. The blockage can create a sewer backup situation and ultimately a potential health problem in the establishment. Someone will have to pay for removing the blockage. If the problem is in the building sewer line, then the establishment has direct responsibility for paying for the maintenance. If the blockage or restriction is in the public sewer and it can be proven that the establishment has caused the blockage, it may have to pay for the public sewer to be maintained. Blocking a sewer line is also a violation of various laws and local bylaws.
Environmental legislation requires the producer of the waste to get rid of it in an acceptable manner. If there is a possibility that FOG from your establishment can create blockages or foul water treatment systems, you are legally responsible for ensuring that it is treated or intercepted. If blockages or other complications occur you will be legally liable for the costs involved in solving the problem, and you may also incur a fine.
Any food service establishment suspected of causing problems to the collection system or treatment facilities will be inspected. In 2007/2008 Thames Water alone cleared over 60,500 blockages, of which 60% were as a result of FOG being released directly into the waste water system. This led to over 2500 visits to various sites, and a number of fines for non-compliance. FOG in the system can be traced back directly to the polluter. Depending on the amount of FOG entering the waste water system, and the condition and capacity of the grease management system, an establishment may be expected to increase its maintenance schedule, and/or improve its grease management equipment. In some cases prosecution may result in considerable fines, or even imprisonment, and the closure of a facility.
If you have re-occurring problems you will need an experienced contractor to work with you in finding suitable solutions. We take a proactive approach to treatment, and will work with you to solve your problems and reduce your maintenance costs, rather than just jetting your sewer lines every time they become blocked. Major companies, catering establishments, and restaurant chains use our proactive treatment program.
We offer the following:
• Education: We will work with kitchen and maintenance staff to identify sources of FOG, and look for the most effective ways of eliminating them. We are able to inform kitchen staff of alternatives to their current practices, and train them in the correct procedure and schedule for their chosen grease management systems. We provide printed reference documentation and checklists (where appropriate) for the equipment we install and service.
• Maintenance: We help you establish and manage a maintenance schedule and log for your whole treatment programme that specifically takes into account the demands made on your systems. We also ensure that relevant staff are assigned duties of cleaning and caring for your grease management devices.
• Follow up: We check back periodically to insure that your grease management program is working effectively. This includes checking interceptors, dosing units, log books, and talking with the kitchen staff. We provide you with an integrated program that will reduce the amount of jetting required for keeping your lines clear, thereby reducing your annual maintenance cost and the likelihood of being in breach of your regulatory obligations.
• Pre-Treatment Devices: Small devices require frequent maintenance and are less efficient. Larger devices allow for a greater storage time and more grease retention. Mechanical separators are fairly small units and work well as long as they are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
• Registered Waste Contractors: We are registered with the Environment Agency to collect, manage, and dispose of your FOG waste legally, and provide you with the necessary waste transfer documentation for any waste we remove from your site.
• Nationwide Reach: We are a truly national company who work across the length and breadth of mainland UK.