What is FOG?
FOG is the abbreviation for the fats, oils and grease which are found in the wastewater produced by kitchens. FOG comprises fats, oil, grease created by food debris, fats and oils used in the cooking process, and the washing of food equipment, utensils and crockery. All kitchens produce wastewater which contains fats, oils and greases (FOG) as well as food debris.
Why do I need to worry about FOG?
FOG causes blockages in kitchen drainage systems, compromises hygiene, creates unpleasant odours, can impact upon employee health and safety, and ultimately can stop your commercial kitchen from operating.
FOG is also becoming a major issue for Britain’s sewer network, creating ‘fatbergs’ and causing blockages. As a result, every foodservice outlet in the country has a legal obligation to “manage effluent content” under the Water Industry Act (1991). Section 111 of The Water Industry Act (1991) gives water companies the power to bring a criminal proceeding against anyone who causes injury or inhibits the free flow of the sewer network. As FOG is a major cause of sewer blockages, under this Act the water companies have the power to prosecute for FOG contamination and also to recharge any costs incurred to clear blockages.
What is Grease Management?
Grease management refers to the use of a range of products and systems which effectively remove FOG from waste water and so prevent the issues which FOG can cause in a kitchen’s drainage system and the wider sewer network.
What grease management solutions are available to prevent FOG from entering my drainage?
A range of solutions are available including grease separators, grease traps and grease recovery units also known as GRUs. It is important to specify the right grease management solution for your business and, to ensure it continues to operate effectively, to conduct ongoing maintenance.
Why are there so many different products and solutions to choose from?
Different types and size of commercial kitchen require different grease management solutions. Your choice of grease management solution will depend on a variety of key specification criteria including the size of your kitchen, the type of food you prepare, the equipment used for food preparation, the contents of your waste water, the density of the FOG produced and the space you have available for the installation of a grease management solution.
How can I ensure that I specify the most appropriate grease management solution for my business?
There are numerous sources of impartial information which will provide you with guidance. ACO has also developed a Product Selector for commercial kitchen operators.
When you are ready to specify the product, please the following questions before contacting ACO:
- Is the grease trap to be internal, above ground or external below ground?
- The number of meals per day that the kitchen will process?
- Operating time of the kitchen in which the separators will be receiving grey water?
- Type of food being processed Category A-E
- The distance of the grease trap from the source?
If you opt to use an external below ground separator, please supply the following information:
- Inlet from finished floor level?
- Whether it is to be installed in a pedestrian or vehicular area?
- Load class required for the access cover
Important points for consideration before installing grease management solutions:
- Ensure that there is suitable access for regular emptying, cleaning and maintenance
- Must be kitchen waste only, toilets must be plumbed in after the separator
- The separator cannot be used for dairy products
- If dishwashers are to be plumbed in, we will need to know the discharge volume and temperature.
For project-specific guidance, you can also talk with our in-house technical team who help you choose the right grease management solution for your business.
What are the cost implications of fitting a grease trap?
The initial capital cost of the grease management system that you choose will vary enormously depending on what you purchase. It is important to recognise that there will be regular maintenance and service requirements to ensure that the system remains problem free and provides the performance that you expect. It is worth reviewing this aspect before a purchase is made to understand the ongoing costs and requirements.
Will local authorities/ water companies provide grants to fit one?
It is unlikely that you will get any financial assistance from either your local authority or the local water company responsible for your sewer. We would suggest that you ask your local water company, local Environmental Health Officer or British Water (www.britishwater.co.uk) for guidance.
Why choose ACO?
ACO Building Drainage is the established leader in the provision of hygienic floor drainage systems and provides grease management systems designed and manufactured to support the functionality of commercial kitchens both large and small . We have more than 60 years’ experience of designing and manufacturing high performance drainage solutions, and our in-house design team provides tailored solutions to suit individual client requirements. To give you optimum peace of mind and a complete grease management solution, we can also put you in touch with our service and installation partner, who can manage your commissioning, installation and maintenance requirements.
Can I promote the fact that my restaurant is “doing its bit” to prevent fatbergs?
Promoting that your establishment is a ‘grease and fat-free establishment’ thanks to your partnership with ACO can only be positive. Given the recent interest in the London ‘Fatberg’ and the heightened awareness that consumers have regarding the challenges facing our cities infrastructure, it would be a tremendous message to communicate to your customers and staff. Social media is a powerful communication tool and positive messaging can support your business and brand.
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