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The grease trap was first patented in the late 1800s by Nathaniel Whiting from California, USA.

Basic GreaseTrap

There has been little progress in the design over the last 120 years. Greasetraps are considered to be inefficient allowing considerable quantities of FOGs to pass through into the drainage system or pump stations, generating foul smells, requiring to be regularly pumped out at significant recurring cost. Some 93% of the greasetrap contents is highly contaminated water.

Poorly maintained greasetrap


The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has determined that sewer pipe blockages are the leading cause of sewer overflows, and grease is the primary cause of sewer blockages. It is estimated that 50% of all sanitary sewer overflows are caused by grease blockages with over 10 billion gallons of raw sewage spills annually.

Municipalities and Water Utilities require commercial kitchen operations to fit some kind of interceptor device to collect the grease before it enters the sewer.

Another poorly maintained greasetrap

The Water Environment Research Foundation (2008) found that a majority (90%) of the FOG deposits contained saturated fats.

Research conducted by Keener et al. (2008) in the USA, indicated that 85% of FOG deposit


samples contained calcium as the primary metal, with average concentrations of 4,255mg/LSewers blocked by FOGs

Studies in Boston (MA) from over 7000 participants have found that coronary artery calcium is a much better predictor of heart attacks and strokes in patients (Dr. Michael Silverman, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston).

FOGs – Saturated Fats cause similar problems to the human body and drainage systems. Saturated fats react with calcium to form a metallic soap.

The Problem With FOGs


FOGs - Facts & Fiction

FOGs comprise saturated and non-saturated triglyceride fatty acids having a number of carbon atoms, ranging from 4 to 28. The Water Environment Research Foundation found that a majority (90%) of the FOG deposits in drain blockages contained saturated fats. Research conducted by Keener et al. 03-CTS-16T (2008) in the USA, indicated that 85% of FOG deposit samples contained calcium as the primary metal, with average concentrations of 4,255mg/L.

The EN 1825 standard calls for passive greasetraps to be pumped monthly and preferably every two weeks and refilled with clean water. Pumped greasetrap wastes typically comprise 93% heavily contaminated anaerobic effluent with extremely high BOD levels which are costly to remediate and reoxygenate before disposal to watercourses.

FOGs are not just a drainage related issue. During pump-outs foul anaerobic smells are given off and can cause nearby buildings to be evacuated. Back flooding from blocked drains causes bacterial contamination and can result in unhygienic conditions in food service establishments.

Fatbergs and Sewers

Fatbergs are increasingly being reported. In August 2013 a fatberg roughly the size of a bus, consisting of food fat and wet wipes, was discovered in drains under London Road in Kingston upon Thames. In September 2014 a fatberg was reported as being the size of a Boeing 747 in Shepherd’s Bush in West London.

In September 2014 a fatberg was reported in Melbourne, Australia. In January 2015 Welsh Water reported on a fatberg in Cardiff In April 2015 a 40-metre long fatberg was reported as having been removed from underneath Chelsea. The damage the fatberg had inflicted was estimated to cost £400,000 to repair and took more than two months to deal with.

FOG deposits are basically metallic soaps, caused by reacting fatty acids (animal and/or vegetable) with an alkali present in the effluent, otherwise known as saponification (the making of soap). Saturated fats are not heart healthy, since they are well known for raising cholesterol levels in people with high fat diets.

In the United States, sewers back up annually “an estimated 400,000 times and municipal sewer overflows on 40,000 occasions”.


Reacting with calcium deposits ultimately results in arterial blockages, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.


FOGs and UCOs generated from the preparation, cooking and wash-up activities of all food service establishment are increasingly contributing to environmental health concerns.

Legislation is an important tool for safeguarding our waterways from pollution. EU Environmental Policy (as transposed and enacted into National Laws) abides by a number of core principles:-

The prevention of environmental damage is better than the cure.

The polluter should pay; and

Environmental damage should be rectified at source.

EU Directive 96/61/EC and Directive 2008/1/EC state that pollution should be prevented at source by using BAT (Best Available Technology) techniques / methodology / equipment and processes and the Polluter must pay.

The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC sets out the policies to be adopted by national governments in order to improve the quality of water in the European Union.

Article 9 of directive 2000/60/EC, states that member states shall recover the costs for water and wastewater services in accordance with the principle of the polluter pays.

The UK Building Regulations 2000 – Drainage And Waste Disposal states that drainage serving kitchens in commercial food premises should be fitted with a grease separator complying with BS EN 1825-1:2004 and designed in accordance with BS EN1825-2:2002 or other effective means of grease removal, which latter phrase is open to interpretation and opinion rather than an empirical determination of “other effective means of grease removal.”

Ideally such determination of effectiveness should be at foot of 3rd party testing and certification and conform to one or more of the current major International Standards relating to the sizing and selection of greasetraps.

EN 1825 Parts 1 & 2 – European Standard for Passive Traps

CSA B481 Series 12 – Hydro Mechanical Greasetraps and Passive Greasetraps

PDI G101 – Hydro Mechanical Greasetraps and Passive Greasetraps

ASME A112.14.3-2000 - Hydro Mechanical Greasetraps and Passive Greasetraps


ASME A112.14.4.2001 - Grease Interceptors equipped with automatic grease removal devices (GRDs).

ASME A112.14.6: - “disposal systems”. This standard was developed to address a growing category of interceptors that not only separate and retain FOG, but internally dispose of retained FOG by means of mass and volume reduction through thermal, chemical, electrical and biological processes. Acceptable performance, under the test parameters of this standard, is an effluent concentration limit of 100 mg/L (PPM).

Rather than EHOs and Water Utilities being asked to make an act of faith and permit the use of dosing systems, suppliers of dosing systems have an avenue open to them to validate the effectiveness of their products rather than continue to promote snake oil.

The acceptance of dosing products as grease management solutions cannot be considered to be “effective solutions” and thus do not conform to the UK Building Regulations 2000 – Drainage And Waste Disposal.

Dosing Systems

Generally these are promoted as converting FOGs into harmless carbon dioxide and water. However there is no scientific evidence available that this is indeed the case.

Snake Oil Salesman

The precautionary principle in European Community Health and Environmental Law appears to have been ignored in that biological additives do not appear to have been subjected to examination in accord with The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (85/337/EEC)(3).

Typically no Health & Safety Datasheets are available or regard given to the UK Water Industry Act 1991, which sets out the Determination of Fluid Categories on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is wholesome water supplied from a mains water source and 5 represents a serious health hazard because of the concentration of pathogenic organisms, radioactive or very toxic substances, including any fluid which contains faecal material or other human waste; or butchery or other animal waste; or pathogens from any other source.

The addition of any biological additive will be classified as a Fluid Category 4, the definition of which states that it represents a significant health hazard.


Earth Day - 22nd April 2019 -  End Plastic Pollution

On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.

The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.


Earth Day 2019 and Beyond: End Plastic Pollution

EDN built a multi-year campaign to End Plastic Pollution. Our goals include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics. EDN’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components:

  • Leading a grassroots movement to support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution;
  • Educating, mobilizing and activating citizens across the globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution;
  • Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle and remove plastics and
  • Promoting local government regulatory and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution.
  • www.earthday.org

      Biodegradable Waste - source http://ec.europa.eu/      

    Bio-waste is defined as biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, and comparable waste from food processing plants. It does not include forestry or agricultural residues, manure, sewage sludge, or other biodegradable waste such as natural textiles, paper or processed wood. It also excludes those by-products of food production that never become waste.

    Currently the main environmental threat from biowaste (and other biodegradable waste) is the production of methane from such waste decomposing in landfills, which accounted for some 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-15 in 1995. The Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) obliges Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that they landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2016 (for some countries by 2020) which will significantly reduce this problem.

    The Landfill Directive does not prescribe specific treatment options for the diverted waste. The most significant benefits of proper bio-waste management - besides avoided emissions of greenhouse gases - would be the production of good quality compost and bio-gas that contribute to enhanced soil quality and resource efficiency, as well as a higher level of energy self-sufficiency. In practice, however, Member States are often inclined not to opt for composting or bio-gas production, and instead


    choose the seemingly easiest and cheapest option such as incineration or landfilling and disregarding the actual environmental benefits and costs.

    Unquestionably, landfilling is the worst waste management option for bio-waste. However, for the management of biodegradable waste diverted from landfills, there seems to be several environmentally favourable options. While the waste management hierarchy also applies to the management of bio-waste, in specific cases it may be justified to depart from it as the environmental balance of the various options available for the management of this waste depends on a number of local factors, inter alia collection systems, waste composition and quality, climatic conditions, the potential of use of various waste-derived products such as electricity, heat, methane-rich gas or compost. Therefore, national strategies for the management of this waste should be determined in a transparent manner and be based on a structured and comprehensive approach such as Life Cycle Thinking (LCT). In order to assist decision-makers in making the best use of biodegradable waste in line with the waste hierarchy, the Commission has prepared a set of guidelines on how to apply Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Thinking to planning the management of bio-waste.


    A number of EU legal instruments address the issue of treatment of bio-waste. General waste management requirements, such as environmental and human health protection during waste treatment and priority for waste recycling, are laid down in the revised Waste Framework Directive which also contains specific bio-waste related elements (new recycling targets for household waste, which can include bio-waste) and a mechanism allowing setting quality criteria for compost (end-of-waste criteria). Landfilling of bio-waste is addressed in the Landfill Directive which requires the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste from landfills. The IPPC Directive (soon to be replaced by the Industrial Emissions Directive) lays down the main principles for the permitting and control of bio-waste treatment installations of a capacity exceeding 50 tonnes/day. The incineration of bio-waste is regulated in the Waste Incineration Directive, while the health rules for composting and biogas plants which treat animal by-products are laid down in the Animal By-products Regulation.

    The details concerning current Commission works concerning further regulation and guidelines for the management of bio-waste, as well as studies on this subject, can be found in the section "Developments".

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