Environmental specialist Filta Group has warned operators to take FOG compliance seriously or risk action from water authorities that are cracking down on the foodservice sector.
With venues preparing to reopen following the latest Covid-19 lockdown, the company said operators needed to take urgent action if they have received a FOG (fats, oils and grease) Compliance Notice.
Edward Palin, commercial director at Filta Group, said that water companies were becoming more active and taking a tougher stance with restaurant operators regarding FOG discharge.
“Water Companies have an OFWAT obligation to reduce blockages and they are focusing on foodservice operators. If they can reduce grease into networks they will reduce blockages and they are putting a lot of resources into inspection visits to enforce this. Enforcement action is serious and can result in a fine and or criminal prosecution.”
Under Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (WIA), it is a criminal offence to ‘throw, empty or turn, or suffer or permit to be thrown or emptied or to pass, into public sewer, or into any drain or sewer communicating with a public sewer any matter likely to affect prejudicially the treatment and disposal of its contents’.
Mr Palin said that if any organisation receives a letter from their water company regarding the discharge of FOGs into the sewer network and making reference to the WIA 1991 Section 111, it is important to take appropriate measures to prevent enforcement action.
This can include fitting appropriate equipment to prevent FOGs from entering the sewage system.
Failure to act could lead to enforcement action and the risk of unlimited fines and/or up to two years imprisonment, as well as costs to cover the clearance of blockages, local flooding events and any other associated works if the water company’s investigations shows it was caused by a restaurant’s premises.
Any venue with a commercial kitchen on site is likely to be generating FOG from food preparation and washing of pots, pans, plates and utensils and will likely require a grease management system in place.