FOG Control - What it Is and How it Works
When it comes to FOG control for both your residence, workplaces, and even communities as a whole, it's difficult to know where to begin and how to implement a long-term solution. But before we can get to the solutions available to maintain FOG control, we must first understand what it is and how it works.
FOG CONTROL PROGRAM
On a community level, FOG control begins with the utilities' wastewater compliance standards as a guide to administer and enforce the FOG control program's requirements. Its authority is set by the most current sewer use ordinance in the respective county. The FOG control program's primary goal is to educate the public about the best and most cost-effective ways to maintain FOG control and keep FOG out of the sanitary sewer.
WHY IS FOG CONTROL A PROBLEM?
FOG (fats, oil, and grease) can coagulate and coalesce when they are flushed down the drain. They then stick to the surfaces in the sanitary sewer collection network. FOG can be from any animal or vegetable source including milk, cream butter, margarine and cheese, as well as vegetable fats and oils, fats found in meats, seeds, nuts, and other foods.
FOG can then block up sewer pipes, causing the sewer pumps to stop working and rancid odors at sewer manholes and pumping stations, which can lead to sanitary sewer overflows (hence why FOG control is so important).
What's more, FOG can also block wastewater treatment at the local water reclamation plant if it reaches that source and requires government staff to spend a lot of time removing FOG from the sanitary drains. This can affect the community directly as the extra time spent on FOG control is likely being passed onto the customers in the form of higher utility bills.
WHERE FOG ORIGINATES
FOG control needs to be a focus any place where food is prepared or cooked, where the primary source of fats, oils, and grease might be disposed of. The items used to prepare and cook the food are then washed and those fats, oils, and grease then end up in the county sewer. The good news is that private residences do not have an impact on the sanitary system. However, food service facilities that prepare or cook food for large numbers of people can generate significant amounts FOG over a short period of time.
Without proper FOG control in place, these various facility's waste could result in a substantial individual impact on the sanitary drain system. This includes, but is not limited to: restaurants, lounges and bars, food courts, caterers, convenience stores, bakeries, coffee shops, hospitals, hotels and motels, nursing homes, schools, detention centers, prisons, and mobile food vendors.
PREVENTING FOG ACCUMULATION - BEST PRACTICES FOR FOG CONTROL
The reality is, FOG cannot be prevented from entering the sanitary drain all together, however, there are procedures and best practices that have been proven to be efficient and cost-effective when looking to achieve FOG control.
Have a lesser impact on local communities, food service operators or those who prepare or cook food can reduce the amount of FOG that they release into the sanitary drains by following these steps:
Training programs can be implemented to train kitchen staff and other employees on how to ensure that FOG control practices are adhered too. Understanding the reasons behind an initiative will make people more likely to support it.
Place "NO GREASE” signs above sinks and in front of dishwashers. These signs will be a constant reminder to the kitchen staff.
To collect excess food waste, always use sink basket strainers. Solid waste disposal of food will decrease the need for grease traps and interceptor cleaning, hence contributing to the FOG control initiative.
Before dishwashing, always dry wipe pans and dishes - this will decrease the material that goes into the grease traps and Interceptors. In turn, it will result in less frequent cleaning which will lower overall facility maintenance costs too.
Take out any oil that has accumulated during cleaning of exhaust hoods and stoves. After absorbing any liquid, dispose of the oil using solid waste disposal methods - this is a big one in FOG control best practices.
All sinks should be used at temperatures below 140° F. While temperatures above 140o F can dissolve grease, grease that has cooled in the wastewater collection system may congeal or become solidified. The water temperature can be reduced, which will provide an additional benefit to the food service establishment by reducing the energy cost of heating the water.
You can recycle cooking oil by using a reputable, established recycling facility. Food service establishments may be compensated for the material, which will lower the amount of garbage that needs to be hauled away.
Another huge FOG control tactic is to never not allow caustics, acids, or solvents to be discharged into the wastewater collection system. Caustics, acids, and solvents can also have harmful effects on wastewater treatment systems and can pose a danger to workers in the wastewater collection system.