Severn Trent Water’s successful prosecution of Café Saffron in Codsall has highlighted the issue of fats, oil and grease (FOG) – 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 it could easily lead to more prosecutions.
Café Saffron has agreed to fit a grease trap. However, CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association, points out that 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,” says Keith Warren, director of CESA.
“One aspect that is often overlooked in dealing with FOG is the profit potential,” he adds. “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. For 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.