The Importance of Grease Management in Food Factories

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In the industrial sector, managing waste effectively is a critical responsibility. One aspect of this management is the handling of fats, oils and grease waste, particularly in factories involved in food processing/production. Proper grease management not only ensures compliance with environmental laws but also protects our natural waterways and maintains the operational efficiency of manufacturing processes.

Factories generate significant quantities of trade effluent, a term for the liquid waste produced by industrial activities. This effluent often contains fats, oils and grease which can be highly polluting if not properly treated. Environmental regulations set strict limits on the levels of these substances that can be discharged into sewage systems and natural waterways. Breaching these limits can result in legal penalties and significant environmental harm.

A major investigation into a chicken supplier recently revealed that several of their factory sites in Northern Ireland breached legal limits for pollutants. Samples collected by Northern Ireland Water found ammonia and hexane extractable materials such as fats, oils and grease (FOG) were discharged across hundreds of occasions.

These breaches have the potential to harm local ecosystems, such as Lough Neagh, where toxic blue-green algae blooms have been linked to various forms of pollution.

When grease and other pollutants exceed permissible levels in trade effluent, they can contribute to serious environmental issues. In the case of Lough Neagh, pollutants from various sources, including factories, have been implicated in the growth of harmful cyanobacteria. This blue-green algae can produce toxins that endanger aquatic life, domestic animals, and even humans who come into contact with contaminated water.

Moreover, untreated or poorly treated trade effluent can overload wastewater treatment facilities, leading to more frequent and severe pollution events.

1.Pre-Treatment Processes: Grease Traps/Interceptors are essential for capturing fats, oils, and greases (FOG) before they enter the sewage system, these devices require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent blockages and ensure efficiency. However, for large-scale operations, Grease Guardian’s automatic grease removal devices (AGRDs) offer a superior solution, featuring centralised units that handle high volumes of wastewater, filter out solids and skim the FOG from wastewater. They require minimal maintenance, therefore enhancing operational efficiency and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.

2. Effluent Monitoring: Conduct regular sampling and analysis of trade effluent to ensure compliance with environmental standards. Continuous monitoring can help identify issues before they result in significant breaches.

3. Employee Training: Educate employees about the importance of proper grease disposal and the environmental impact of their actions. Ensuring that all staff understand and follow best practices can significantly reduce the risk of pollution.

4. Collaboration with Regulators: Work closely with environmental regulators to ensure compliance and stay updated on new regulations and technologies. Proactive communication can help prevent breaches and build a positive reputation for environmental stewardship.

To conclude, effective grease management is not just a regulatory requirement but a crucial element of responsible industrial operations. By implementing best practices and staying vigilant about effluent quality, factories can minimise their environmental impact, avoid legal penalties, and contribute to the sustainability of local ecosystems. As industries grow and evolve, so too must our commitment to protecting the environment and ensuring that our industrial processes do not harm the natural world.

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Grease Guardian UK and Ireland Phone: 028 3026 6616 | Website: www.greaseguardian.com

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