Restaurants should be encouraged to see FOG as a “resource”, industry experts have concluded in the wake of a fine handed down to a café found guilty of clogging up a sewer.
Severn Trent Water’s successful prosecution of Café Saffron in Codsall highlighted the issue of fats, oil and grease – and underlined the need for the catering industry to deal with it.
The restaurant was fined £5,495 for creating a blockage in the sewer system, as a result of not dealing with FOG from its kitchen. Severn Water described it as a landmark case and warned that it would not be afraid of carrying out further prosecutions.
Café Saffron has subsequently agreed to fit a grease trap, however trade body CESA insists there is no ‘one system fits all’ solution.
“A combination of bio remediation, grease removal units and grease traps maximises the opportunity to eliminate the problem of FOG entering the sewers,” said Keith Warren, director of CESA. “One aspect that is often overlooked in dealing with FOG is the profit potential. The ‘harvest’ from grease traps and grease recovery units can be used for anaerobic digestion and biogas production.”
A recent FOG Forum workshop agreed that the industry should be encouraged to see FOG as a resource.
or example, some foodservice operators use cooking oils and waste from grease traps to power their own trucks.
There are other benefits of taking untreated FOG out of the drain – a major one being that it removes a source of nutrient for algae growing in the sewers, which can be a huge problem.
Meanwhile, FOG is potentially a rich source of phosphorus, which is needed in compost to promote food growth – and according to the World Health Organisation, we will run out of phosphorus in the next 20 years.
CESA, CEDA and the FCSI are part of a group preparing a white paper report on FOG Management on behalf of the FOG Forum.
It will provide an overview of the issues, legislative requirements, design reviews, operational assessments and the solutions.