Sewage networks are fraught with blockages caused by fats, oils and grease (FOG) and a massive contributor to this are commercial kitchens. In some cases the culprits have no grease management systems in place, but in other cases efforts have been made and FOG management systems installed – but they have proved to be inappropriate.
The Pelham Arms pub in Lewes, East Sussex, is an example of the latter and one that was assisted recently by Mechline.
Owned by Woodhouse Brewery and leased to a landlord, the pub’s FOG had caused several sewer blockages and flooding to the nearby residential area, all of which had resulted in the pub facing a substantial water company fine. Despite having fitted a grease trap at the request of Southern Water, blockages continued and foul sewage spills arose.
Grease traps are often the ‘go-to’ solution for FOG management. But the visible build-up of trapped fat is not synonymous with success because, as in the case of The Pelham Arms, you also have to dispose of it.
Mechline offers a solution with its biological dosing system GreasePak. It works by employing bioremediation to break down FOG and starch into irreversible compounds, which do not reform down the line. It is the most powerful and only British Board of Agrément-approved bioremediation dosing system on the market.
Having heard about the merits of the product, Southern Water contacted the company to conduct a year-long trial at the problematic Pelham Arms site. Mechline has previously worked with Southern Water at sites where staff may have required direction or training with their GreasePaks, because end-user engagement is essential to achieving the best possible outcome with any system.
Mechline surveyed the pub’s kitchen and drainage network and concluded that two GreasePaks were required, one for the dishwasher/pot wash area and another for the main kitchen. Staff were trained on how to use and maintain the units, and given guidance on kitchen best practise: ‘Stop and think, not down the sink!’
GreasePak works by dispensing a preset amount of multi-strain grease degrader fluid into drainage pipes, at a predetermined time when the kitchen is not in use.
The eco-friendly formula contains more bacteria than any other product on the market: eight bacteria strains with more than 500 million colony-forming bacteria per gram. These are chosen for their ability to degrade FOGs in the drains of a typical commercial kitchen, which have low oxygen and a fluctuating pH.
GreasePak is a discreet, easy to clean, wall-mounted unit that requires little maintenance. The bio-fluid boxes are easy to change and can last up to three months on the standard level setting. Operators do not even need to remember when to change them because there is a built-in alarm system.
The only other maintenance is battery replacement if the battery model is chosen, and their life expectancy is around two years.
During the trial, Southern Water monitored the sewers via CCTV and, on its completion, reported that the system had proven successful. GreasePak kept the pub’s sewer free from FOG with no discernible build-up, a result not previously achieved by using a grease trap.
Not only did the GreasePaks prevent FOG blockages, but the also resulted in the ‘amnesty’ placed on the pub by Southern Water being lifted.
Landlord Andrew Mellor said: “The cost of running such a system is minimal when considering the time saved in maintenance of a traditional system or jetting drains and sewers.
“The water company is happy with the results and the kitchen team is happy too, which means that, as a business owner, I am very satisfied.”
The trial demonstrated GreasePak’s effectiveness in controlling FOG build-up, and highlights the need for the most appropriate solution to be selected for each site. Only through the use of the correct FOG management technology along with staff training, can FOG entering the kitchen drainage system be dramatically reduced.
Andy Coulthard is national sales manager for Mechline