FOG Alert – Rethinking grease interception to handle today’s demands
Many Canadians aren’t giving this issue a second thought – a lot of them are carelessly disposing fats, oils and grease (FOG) by pouring it down kitchen sinks and toilets. People may think it’s not a big deal if they do it once or twice or three times, but because of this, fatbergs are forming in local wastewater systems and costing taxpayers a lot of money in clean-ups and repairs.
With damage to sewer infrastructure on the rise, taking action and making clear changes for a better environment and future is essential. Releases of fats, oils and grease into waterways come from this damage and pose a very large threat to public health and safety.
The food industry is a major source of FOG discharges, along with residential and industrial sewer users. However, it is only the food service establishments (FSEs) and the industrial sewer users that are required to take action in reducing the amount of FOG they discharge into the system. While required to have some grease intercepting system in place, FSEs may still be discharging excess amounts of FOG into the sewer system due to:
· The fact that many grease interceptors have reached their end of life
· Microbial and chemical corrosion have caused grease interceptors to deteriorate and malfunction, releasing grease into the wastewater
· Improper or infrequent maintenance of the grease interceptor.
Once FOG is released into sewer systems, it can come into contact with improperly disposed items, such as wet wipes, diapers, bandages – all things that should not be flushed down toilets or drains. FOG in the sewer will bind to these improperly disposed items creating a mass which will accumulate more debris and FOG – growing in size as it does so. Eventually, the mass will become too large for wastewater to continue flowing through the sewer line. The fatberg will eventually choke off the flow of wastewater and the result is a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) in which raw sewage may be forced through manhole covers and basement drains into streets, houses and businesses.
· These large blobs grow and multiply
· Generate foul odors
· Block sewers
· Damage sewer pipes and may even cause cracking
· The result is sending raw sewage spilling into the streets
Did you know in 2017, workers in London, England discovered a fatberg measuring over 800 ft. long and weighing an estimated 130 metric tons -- the size of 11 double-decker buses! If this doesn’t get you wanting new grease interceptors, nothing will.
It’s not just about what these dangerous and gross fatbergs do, it’s also about how much they are costing taxpayers to treat.
According to The News Wire, “The City of London, Ontario services 381,000 citizens and previously paid an average of $600,000 a year to flush out and prevent blockages in the system caused by fatbergs."
That’s a lot of money going to something that can easily be reduced or fixed with proper maintenance and knowledge of grease interceptors.
What about the environment? This is an on-going issue that has a huge impact on environmental costs and ecosystems like the death of aquatic and terrestrial animals.
It’s time to re-think grease interception! We believe interception is the best defense. This is why we work with cities, municipalities and regulatory agencies to develop long-term solutions.