As we could all very well guess, Fats, Oils and Grease from food preparation and cleaning activities of restaurants and kitchens, has grown over the last 20 years. According to British Water, water companies are responding to over ‘370,000 sewer blockages every year, 80% of which are caused by FOG. This is costing the country (government, businesses and customers) more than £88 million a year’, and that excludes additional costs, such as when sewers collapse and the effect this has on people’s lives and businesses.
The 3rd International FOG Conference was held last month at Cranfield University, co-organised with British Water. Cranfield University has been involved in research on various aspects of the FOG problem for the last 10 years: from a more fundamental characterization of FOG-rich wastewater and associated flow regimes, to physical and biological technologies to mitigate the FOG problem in kitchens and sewers.
The most obvious and effective way of reducing FOG-related problems is to prevent their discharge in the first place and install a Grease Trap. Although this is easier said than done for both businesses and individuals due to some associated costs. However, by simply encouraging good practice at source, backed up by information campaigns and regulator intervention; a massive improvement could be noticed.
Yet it seems it is inevitable that FOG will reach the sewers somehow, however well-intentioned the source, and so what options exist then? The success of a Fats, Oils and Grease Sewer stems from the characteristics of the material discarded. The composition of wastewater from food service establishments (FSEs) is very variable and linked to the size, type of cuisine and cleaning processes employed at each site. Key physical and chemical parameters of kitchen wastewater, such as particle size and zeta potential, are central to the most common FOG mitigation processes (gravity separation, air flotation and electroflotation) but have been very rarely investigated.
A FOG-free future?
FOG is here and likely to stay. But with the research from our industry and government, there is a real desire from all the stakeholders to address the problem, as it goes well beyond the financial bottom line. Businesses have a moral consideration to bear in mind; government should be supporting business, water providers and the public; and we all should be conscious of our individual environmental legacies.
For more information on how our range of manual and automatic Grease Removal Systems can help you leave a better environmental legacy, please contact us HERE.