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Kitchen Design and the Great Grease Trap Dilemma

During the design of a commercial kitchen, with today’s regulations and enforcement challenges that owners face, getting the correct information in regard to the design of a kitchen is a significant challenge, writes William Clark, director of Alumina.
Good business practice would be to contract a good professional consultant. This will ensure all the current legislation, on all aspects of the design and operation of a commercial kitchen (Hygiene Practices HACCP, Oil and Grease Compliance), are covered. All consultants have indemnity insurance, combined with many years of experience too, so it is money well spent.

Consultants will take into account a grease management system in the initial design and allow enough space to accommodate it. Positioning the equipment correctly, e.g. number of sinks, combi ovens, etc. by using oversized or extra sinks, will increase the size of interceptor to be specified. The pipework system requires a clear run to drain outlet to give optimum performance and cost saving.

With the ambiguity of the adopted EN-1825/PDA sizing methods and the number of different trap systems in the marketplace, we presume they are all certified and fit for purpose in UK- if you read the different companies’ literature. However, it may use certification from different bodies. Be aware it is up to the business owner to ensure these meet current legislation; we would advise that this be obtained in writing and dated.

Raising the question, “How can the interceptors based on nominal sizing, be used if GMS hasn’t been tested or approved by a UK authority, be passed by the compliance team approving each installation?” Only when installed and the kitchen is functioning and Interceptor tested, will the client know if they have chosen wisely. When a trap fails to perform, but has been passed by the FOG team, who is responsible in this instance?

This will cost money to replace to ensure it is compliant and still may fall foul of the Environmental Health Inspector.
“Be aware it is up to the business owner to ensure these meet current legislation; we would advise that this be obtained in writing and dated”.

Why are the food and beverage operators in restaurant/hotel groups not raising these issues with their local elected councils and government? If they have installed “Approved” Interceptors and subsequently found that they are not fit for purpose, how can they seek redress?

The new word “compliance” from water companies and sewer misuse teams will feature in design and implementation, as water companies become more aggressive in protecting their assets. The specialist for design is critical for future and existing establishments, the EHOs, may be over-stretched, the water companies slow to act.

However, this will change with the use of compliance teams checking your units.

Positioning of wash hand basins, sinks, gullies, waste bins and so on, will feature in design criteria. Emphasis on the prevention of cross contamination will become even more important in the future. Position of wash hand basins in a bar, for example in relation to the position of the ice chest, glass storage, beer taps and so on.

The cost of retrofitting GMS installs can be more expensive if the initial design ignores positioning of drain outlets. Space is always at a premium, so sizing and space for retrofits can be a major problem.

We have first-hand experience of the cost of retrofitting in establishments where a design specialist was not involved. The added expense of trapping sinks and FOG producing equipment in these areas where equipment/walls/door openings, bar pipework etc. can cause problems is challenging and usually cost lee, requiring bespoke traps due to space availability.

With a proper layout which takes into account the GMS and organises the most efficient drainage, t his reduces the number of traps! This can be as simple as having more than one sink tied into the GMS. The c leaning/maintenance cost is reduced by use of fewer traps. Are all the sinks & gullies really needed? Are they sized for optimum use? In your business plan, known water usage levels and GMS maintenance costs should not be ignored.

The experts on the subject of grease, oil, foodstuffs entering the sewage pipe network have prepared many papers and documents. Authorities have produced regulatory documents/statements, to date the universities /experts/concerned companies, have failed to produce a definitive document or method of grease/oil retention that can guarantee a large quantity of FOG will not enter sewer systems from premises/homes where food is prepared.

“The cost of retrofitting GMS installs can be more expensive if the initial design ignores positioning of drain outlets”
Water companies are using ‘sewer misuse’ as an attempt to implement in a larger area the controversial Dublin experiment. This, while a laudable attempt to control waste in sewers, led to an expensive period for restaurants in the Dublin area. The charges/fines/licence fees for a service that other than giving FOG a higher profile and many business a new service function and income stream, did little to further the cause of waste removal in a responsible cost effective manner.

Dublin restaurants are left with equipment, insisted on by some members of the FOG team, that is not fit for purpose. Many questioned the methods/assertions/regulation interpretations, but were stonewalled by the system. The sewer misuse teams may earn a revenue stream for water companies, however we would recommend that first a proper method evaluating all ways of preventing FOG from entering sewers is activated.

That the use of certificates from bodies who are not accountable and use test methods not in line with requirements of health & safety or current building regulation in force, should be questioned.

It would be a start to identify the legislation in detail that allows the act ions carried out by the FOG Compliance/misuse team. The right of access is not in dispute, however the legislation covering all other actions would be of great assistance to restaurant owners.

Aluline is a specialist in drainage solutions and uses technological advances in biotechnology to produce managed maintenance systems for drains in commercial kitchens.

Visit www.alulinegms.com for further details.

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