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22 Mar 2019

A No-Nonsense Guide To Fighting Fatbergs

A No-Nonsense Guide To Fighting Fatbergs

Today on the CLH blog, we are looking at Fatbergs! Fatbergs have been slowly increasing across the UK, with giant ‘bergs’ of fat, oil,l grease, wipes, nappies, and toilet paper being found in sewers across the country, including a mammoth one in local seaside town, Sidmouth.

For businesses that deal with a large amount of food preparation and the use of toilet wipes, such as care facilities, the build-up of various substances in sewers can be a serious problem. When fat, oil and grease build up in drains, not to mention toilet wipes adding to the problem, it can cause bad smells, and blocked or overflowing sewers. Bearing this in mind, it’s advised that businesses take steps to invest in the right equipment and processes to prevent fatbergs from occurring. While Fatbergs are a serious problem, the good news is that it is possible to fight them, it’s just a case of knowing what steps need to be taken.

Bearing that in mind, for everything that you need to know about Fatbergs, have a read of this!

Drain dosing could be the answer…

While the build-up of fats, grease, and other materials in sewers has been an ongoing problem for years, it has only been recently that this issue has been in the public spotlight. The topic came to the attention of the UK when a 15-tonne ball of congealed fat was discovered under the streets of Kingston upon Thames in 2013 and was dubbed ‘The UK’s First Fatberg’.

Last year, a 210-foot fatberg was found under Sidmouth; the fatberg made up of grease, oils and fat, in addition to wet wipes, took eight weeks for South West Water to remove. This highlights the sheer scale of the problem, and the wasted time and resources used to deal with each fatberg discovered.

A Channel 4 study in conjunction with Thames Water, discovered that after analysing a sample of a fatberg, cooking fat is the largest contributor, with it making up around 90% of the sample. What this study also highlighted was that more than 95% of premises that provided food on a commercial scale did not have effective equipment and processes in place for disposing of fat, oil, and grease.

Commercial kitchens - such as the kitchens in care facilities - can make changes to help combat the build-up of fatbergs in sewers. If waste is disposed of properly, these problems should no longer occur or should occur far less frequently. Fatbergs are preventable, it’s just a case of taking the correct steps to prevent them.

One such solution is automated drain dosing, which is where a carefully measured out amount of an enzyme-based solution is automatically realised into the waste pipe attached to the kitchen sinks and dishwashers. How this works is that the chemical breaks down any grease, oil and fat, to help reduce the likelihood that it will build up in the sewer and cause a fatberg to occur, blocking drains.

How does it work? It’s simple: a programmed dosing pump - either battery or mains operated - will be mounted to the wall, either within a cabinet that contains both the pump and the drain dosing chemical, or as a separate pump with the drain dosing chemical bottle located close by. The tubing leading from the dosing pump will be connected to a tank connector into the drainage pipes that are connected to the kitchen sink and dishwasher drainage pipes.

As soon as the drain dosing chemical is released, it begins to work. This chemical is designed to specifically attack and breakdown fats, oils, and grease, this keeps drains and pipes clear of any oil build up that may lead to the growth of fatbergs.

At CLH, we believe that drain dosing systems should always be considered as part of an effective grease management system for all commercial premises, including care facilities that serve food on a daily basis. It is important to bear in mind that drain dosing is part of a grease management solution and is not a stand-alone solution. The combination of drain dosing using enzyme-based solutions with the use of grease traps is what we always advise, to ensure prevention of potential fatbergs and blocked drains and pipes.

What are the benefits of automated drain dosing?

Keeps drains clean

By using automated drain dosing pumps, you can keep the system clear of fat, oil, and grease. If grease and fat is able to build up, it’s not only inconvenient, it is also unhygienic, plus it can be extremely costly to deal with.

It’s efficient

A grease trap was traditionally what was used to manage grease. However, this is a more time-consuming process as you need to wait for grease to rise to the surface before it can be disposed of, or you need to pay a specialist to deal with this for you. Whereas, when combined with the use of automated dosing systems, it becomes more efficient. You can program the system to dose at convenient times, such as during the night, to help maximise the effectiveness of the enzyme-based products being used.

Reduced health and safety risk

A drain dosing system runs automatically and does not require any human assistance. This means that there are limited risks associated with the use of this system - the only risk is when filling the system with the chemical enzyme-based solution, but if done correctly this is fairly low-risk.

Cost-effective

Using a drain dosing system is a cost-effective option for dealing with potential fatberg build up. This is cost-effective because an accurate dose of the required chemicals is released each time, and only when required. You can pre-set the dose and frequency, to ensure that you aren’t over-using the chemicals or system when not required. By using this management system, it prevents the need to pay for specialists in grease to come and unblock drains and pipes.

Low maintenance

Another great thing about the use of automated drain dosing systems is the fact that they are fairly easy to install and require minimum maintenance, and only use a small amount of wall space allowing them to fit into most spaces. Once programmed, the system will automatically release the required amount of the dosing solution. After this, all that is required is the topping up of the required chemicals on a regular basis.

At CLH, we can advise you on fitting the required dosing equipment to help combat the ever-growing problem of fatbergs. For more information and advice, head to our website or give us a call.

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