Fats, Oils and Grease

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1 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSISTANCE OFFICE NEWSLETTER In this Issue Health and Human Impact Fats, Oils and Grease November, 2011 Environmental Impact What to do at Work Introduction What to do at Home Grease Removal Devices Previous Issues September 2011 August 2011 Summer 2011 Partners CMU LUESA Solid Waste LUESA Air Quality UNC Charlotte Contact us Phone: Fats, Oils and Grease (or the wastewater industry s term, FOG ) can cause serious problems in your sewer system. From spills to clogged pipes, these contaminants can debilitate any hydrologic system through coagulation within internal piping and over time cause manhole overflows, sewage spills and backups into public homes and businesses. FOG are primarily generated from food establishments. Yet, impacts from residential areas particularly multi-family housing can combine as a major contributor to wastewater infrastructure blockages that cause overflows. As the community evolves with larger populations, it is increasingly important to educate and communicate the environmental and health risks, adequately enforce, and adopt best management practices (BMP s) for FOG. Top: A 10' clean sewer pipe Bottom: Same sewer pipe with grease build-up Source Fax: Did you Know? Our Website Our Mission About the EAO Fast Facts: Cat litter or coffee grounds are very effective for absorbing fats and oils prior to disposal in the trash can. Depending on the size it can cost from $800,000 -$ 1 million to repair a sewage spill. Up to 3.5 million people fall ill from swimming in waters contaminated by sanitary sewer overflows alone every year. EPA

2 Health and Environmental Concern Fats, Oils and Grease are a by-product of cooking; either made from fried foods, cooked meat, cooking oils, or dairy products, FOG are in constant supply. As these contaminants are poured down the drain, they can clog pipes, restricting the flow of water. As a result, sewer back-ups and overflows occur creating health hazards and harmful impacts on the environment, sometimes even entering stormwater drains flowing into streams or oceans. These contaminants can cause a depletion of oxygen residing within natural waterways causing harm to the aquatic life dependent on the oxygen. In addition to harming aquatic life, Sanitary sewage overflows (SSO s) caused by excess grease build-up can expose wastewater. According to the EPA, hundreds of billions of gallons of untreated sewage flow into waterways, lakes and coastal waters. Unknowingly, many risk exposure of serious illness when this untreated waste seeps into recreational waterways; estimating up to 3.5 million cases of illness caused by SSO s every year (American Rivers). Illnesses can include gastroenteritis an intestinal infection which can lead to serious side-effects. As Regulated by the EPA, the dumping of FOG into various hydrologic systems is deemed illegal resulting in the implementation of monetary fines and punishments. Many municipalities now require businesses and individuals to pay for the cost of clearing FOG blockage and direct cleanup. In addition to fines, the maintenance to these blocked systems leads to another series of costs associated with clearing and FOG removal. The services rendered for this problem is paid for by customers of both home and business owners. Sewage Overflows are sewage spills that occur when sanitary sewer collection pipes are blocked or restricted, causing wastewater to back up in the pipe and flow out through manholes. (source) Grease is debilitating in that it is insoluble in water. When cooled, grease thickens and sticks to the metal piping, accumulating upon itself. This pipe is an example of a grease clogging. Charlotte Utilities have ample brochures, information, guidelines, and tips for FOG Management at : Charmeck.org

3 Fiscal Year 2011 Overflows by Primary Cause Grease 57.6% Roots 17.9% Pipe Failure 10.4% -According to Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities, the greatest continuing wastewater challenge in the community is sewage overflows. Last year, over 335 SSO s were recorded, over half of which directly caused by FOG clogging in pipes. Other causes of spills within the region included pipe failures, debris build-up, and root blockages. Estimated volume of grease trap waste removed yearly CMU Other 5.1% Vandalism 2.1% Debris 6.6% -The chart shown is extrapolated from 335 total SSO s reported during the 2011 fiscal year -Mecklenburg county, NC. -Wastewater Performance Report CMU, 2011 Year Total (gallons) 1,225,341 2,535,122 3,319,561 2,639, Grease is almost overwhelming a trap behind a restaurant in Charlotte CMU. Source Most individuals are surprised to find the effects that fats, oils, and grease produce. Many homeowners have trouble believing that the small amount of grease dumped into their drain can have critical results simply because it is not visible. Barry Beamer, a field operation s compliance officer for CMU states that even though the number of overflows has steadily decreased over the passed years, it is still a grave problem that still needs attention. Some sewer lines require constant maintenance for the removal of grease Beamer states in a report by The Charlotte Weekly.

4 Preventing/Maintaining FOG in the Workplace When at the office, there are several practices commonly used to help fight the build-up of FOG in pipes. To ensure that businesses maintain grease waste and stay in accordance with EPA guidelines, businesses need to foster best management practices (BMP s), shown below: Suggested Steps to Take Train and educate staff on proper techniques for handling FOG. Properly dispose FOG. Install grease traps or grease interceptors in place of business. Use water temperature less than 140 o F in all sinks, especially the pre-rinse sink before the mechanical dishwasher. Methods of Implementation Offer seminars and workshops on how to properly handle FOG Become cognizant of federal and state guidelines and procedures for handling FOG within businesses FOG should not be poured down the drain. These products can be put into containers and then put into the trash Wipe pots and pans consisting of FOG before they are washed Recycle waste cooking oil Grease traps and grease interceptors can be installed as a part of an organization s preliminary treatment facilities These systems should be properly maintained so that FOG does not get into the sewer system. A maintenance log should be kept on these systems Routine cleaning of interceptors Check boiler or water heater discharge temperature of the how water being discharges from the closest sink Reduce the amount of food waste entering piping and/or grease traps Dry-Wipe pots, pans and dishware To catch the reader's attention, place an interesting sentence or quote from the story here. prior to dishwashing Recycle waste cooking oil Establish a pick-up system between your business and a grease hauler. This will reduce FOG waste, and allow a more sustainable method for grease usage You can also recycle cooking oils and grease at: Mecklenburg Recycling Centers Call for information Source

5 Preventing/Maintaining FOG at Home When at home, there are many different methods for managing FOG, some of which are as simple as wiping off plates or even using Less dish soap. Here are a few examples for how FOG can be minimized at home: Can the Grease! Keep an empty metal can and pour oil and grease into the can. Allow grease to cool in the container before throwing it in the trash. Wipe before washing. For greasy pans, pour off the grease into a container mentioned above, and use a paper towel to wipe out the remaining grease in the pan prior to washing. Seal the oil. Mix liquid vegetable oil with an absorbent material such as cat litter or coffee grounds in a sealable container before throwing it in the trash. In 2009, There Protect your drain. Keep drains clean by pouring 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup vinegar. Wait 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse with hot water. were over 350 Strain or filter oil in deep fryers to extend the life of the cooking oil. reported SSO s Control the temperature of deep fryers to prevent the oil from scorching and reported in the extend its life. The less oil in the grease interceptor means saving money in pumping and in new oil purchased! City of Charlotte. Recycle cooking oils and leftover grease into a storage container like a barrel or 56% of which bucket. Remember that grease is valuable grease and oil can be recycled into other were recorded to useful products. See your yellow pages for Grease Traps or Greases to find grease be directly cause collection companies or grease trap service providers. by improper Minimize the use of dish soap in dishwashing operations. Dish soap emulsifies FOG and enables it to pass through a grease interceptor. It will later coagulate in the grease removal. sewer lines. -Source Wastewater Performance report. Grease Removal Devices The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires municipal sewer authorities to implement pretreatment or source control programs to regulate and control grease discharges. There are more than 1,500 publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) that are required to implement local pretreatment programs. By reducing the levels of grease discharged into the POTW, the program ensures the protection of America s multi-billion-dollar public investment in treatment infrastructure and the improvement of our nation s water quality. Most food-service facilities discharging wastewater into a sanitary sewer are impacted by the EPA regulations. Facilities with undersized or inoperable grease interceptors are required to capture and properly dispose of the grease generated by their operations. -Pmengineer

6 Grease Removal Devices separate FOG from wastewater before entering the sewer. They can range from larger outdoor units for business use, to smaller units for convenient home use. -Typical at-home GRD Design by: Highland Tank. Source With automatic grease-removal devices (GRDs) formerly known as an under the sink manual grease trap solid materials are removed separately in a dedicated vessel or chamber. The remaining volume of the vessel is devoted exclusively to interception and separation of grease. The accumulating grease mat that is common in a grease interceptor is not apparent in the automatic GRD because the regular self-cleaning feature of the system keeps grease from building up inside the vessel. Further, the automatic grease-removal features of the system minimize manual maintenance requirements. To catch the reader's attention, The described BMP s along with the use of GRD s can greatly place reduce an interesting the sentence impact or of fats, oils and grease. The quote from the story here. control of FOG has long been a requirement of many industrial wastewater treatment Fats, oils and grease can develop into a serious dilemma, creating health hazards, expensive repairs, and sometimes extensive damages. Your use of the proper disposal steps into the trash can will ensure a healthier environment and provide no grease and oils to coagulate and stick to inner piping walls. The use of cited strategies for grease removal can greatly reduce the amount of fats, oils, and grease washed through your sink, allowing an eventual reduction in grease-related piping repairs, and costs associated with septic maintenance. For more information about proper FOG disposal, please visit the CharMeck website at: CharMeck.org/GreaseFree For more information about sewage flows and how to prevent them, dial

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