With every business, there are byproducts, some of which are hazardous to both the business itself and the environment. For restaurants and other food-based industries, these byproducts aren’t toxic or even dangerous to handle, but their impact to the environment – and even more pressing, the day-to-day running of the business – are still very real. Through cooking, cleaning, and excess food disposal, FOGS (Fats, Oils, Grease, and Solids) is introduced into the wastewater. Clogging pipes, sewer overflows, damaged treatment stations, odor complaints, and environmental and ordinance fines are just the tip of the fatberg when it comes to not containing and treating FOGS at your restaurant.
What is FOGS? A Breakdown by Section
The acronym FOGS covers a wide array of substances that can play havoc with your restaurant’s pipes – and its reputation. Let’s review them one by one:
Fats: A Dangerous Combo
Fats are typically the remaining fatty tissue – a combination of tissue, membrane, and oils – from animals. While it can release oil and grease when subjected to heat and water, it can also break down once in the sewers to fatty acids and glycerol, combine with calcium in the sewers, and form basically concrete to block pipes and create fatbergs.
Oils: Difficult to Catch
Oil can be released from fats and other products but is typically processed oil, such as vegetable oil that is added during cooking or drying and remains on cooking or eating ware that is then washed. Not only can oils cause all the dangers of FOGS, but overusing the disposal can lead to emulsified oils that bypass grease traps.
Grease: The Catch-All
There’s a reason it’s called a grease trap: “grease” is the general term for the slurry that is created from restaurant FOGS. The disgusting-but-correctly-titled brown grease is this amalgam of decaying oils, fats, and solids that can be so dangerous to pipes and your restaurant’s health. Needs some examples? Take a look at our informational gallery.
Solids: The Hidden Risk
It’s difficult coming last, and there’s a reason that FOGS was sometimes referred to as FOG in the past. Solids dumped into wastewater can fill up grease traps prematurely as well as binding to grease to speed up the clotting process. It’s important to avoid overusing garbage disposals and cleaning plates to avoid putting excessive solids down the drain.
Why Grease Traps are Used to Combat FOGS
FOGS in a restaurant’s wastewater that can attach to the interior of pipes and cause flow restrictions, sewer overflows, fatbergs, and damaging water treatment plants. Most counties have ordinances in place for the installation of a grease trap – a mechanism that removes FOGS from wastewater to avoid damage to your pipes and the city. The maintenance of the grease trap is where companies like Food Grease Trappers comes in, helping with selection, troubleshooting, and regular service and maintenance when the traps become full.
We hope that this has helped enlighten you about the dangers FOGS pose to your business, both in damage to your infrastructure and potential fines from your city. Want to learn more? Contact Food Grease Trappers. We’re a full-service grease maintenance contractors and can help you select the right grease trap for your business. Want more reading? Learn about if your restaurant needs a grease trap, what happens with the grease we haul away, and best practices to cut down on FOGS in your kitchen.