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Managing your FOG

03 June 2018

Suzanne Gill reports on an interesting solution that removes FOG from wastewater in a cost-effective way. 

Fats, oils, and greases (FOG) is becoming more of a concern within UK sewerage systems. It gradually builds up and combines with other debris in sewer networks – eventually resulting in blockages. The clean-up costs for the water industry now run into millions of pounds – costs which are being passed on to customers through increased wastewater bills.

The situation has resulted in water companies increasingly passing liability for removing FOG up the chain to the foodservice establishments and food manufacturers which, in turn, requires these sectors to give greater consideration to their FOG disposal procedures.

Smart Storm identified a need for a simple and cost efficient way to help its smaller food and beverage industry customers to remove these fats before discharge because, while Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) plants are often used to remove these fats, they do require a large financial investment – often £100k+.

After testing several existing solutions from third-parties, the company found that there was nothing suitable on the market and so it set about developing a solution itself. The result was the Greasebuster fat skimmer, a belt mechanism which uses hydrophobic technology to draw out fat from tanks via a belt, while drawing virrtually no water with it. Placed directly into the tank it can work continuously to remove FOG from wastewater. The FOG is then scraped from the belt and deposited into a collection vessel for recovery. The FOG collected by the Greasebuster can be sold for around £200-300 per IBC, which helps ensure fast payback on the equipment.

The Greasebuster is now being used as part of the company’s industrial wastewater measurement and treatment solutions and is proving a useful addition to many projects in the food and beverage processing sector.

FOG from cakes
One food manufacturer was found to be responsible for regular blockages at the local utility pumping station due to excessive FOG being released to sewer in wastewater from its cake production processes.

The solution suggested by Smart Storm was to install a bacterial treatment plant comprising of a pumping station, bacterial reactor with integral Greasebuster fat skimmer; a pH balancing system and flow and waste water sampling equipment. This had the effect of reducing FOG created during the production process from 60,0000mg/l to below 500mg/l. Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) was reduced from 15,000mg/l to 4000mg/l . pH was also balanced to 7.6.

In another success story for Smart Storm it helped a bakery to bring its high COD, FOG and suspended solids and low pH back to acceptable levels and within consent levels.

The solution involved the installation of a bacterial treatment plant comprising of a settlement tank dosed with coagulant to drop out solids into sludge which is then removed every six weeks. A Greasebuster fat skimmer is also employed to remove light oils. Flow and refrigerated wastewater sampling equipment used as part of the solution, has demonstrated that, together this equipment has reduced FOG from 20,0000mg/l to below 300mg/l. COD has reduced from 15,000mg/l to 4000mg/l and pH has been balanced to 7.6.

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