As a company offering grease trap services, it’s our responsibility not only to pump and clean traps according to local and federal ordinances, but also to ensure the oil is correctly disposed of. The buildup of fats, oils, grease, and solids (FOGS) can cause severe ecological harm if not appropriately handled by professionals. In this blog, we’ll discuss the negative environmental impact of FOGS if a grease trap is not properly emptied and maintained and the steps to preserving nature.
Impact of FOGS on the Environment
Improper disposal of FOGS and other forms of grease dumping is illegal due to the environmental risk. Grease traps are designed to collect grease and solids before entering the wastewater system. They protect the environment by lessening the burden of FOGS on water and waste management facilities, as these byproducts can harden and obstruct sewers. However, if the FOGS are still irresponsibly disposed of, they can cause environmental harm all the same. This mishandling can perpetrate the following:
- Contaminate Local Food Supply: If spilled onto the ground, FOGS can pollute the ecosystem and groundwater, damaging nearby crops and polluting rivers.
- Spread Harmful Bacteria: If FOGS or fatbergs cause overflow from sewer blockage or an overburdened waste management facility, it can seep into water lines and soil, spreading dangerous bacteria like E. coli.
- Create Fire Hazards: Since grease is flammable, it can saturate the grounds where it’s dumped and increase the likelihood of a wildfire.
- Poison Local Wildlife: Animals can ingest the FOGS and develop digestive issues and if the dumping continues, it can produce noxious fumes and cause respiratory problems.
To learn more about FOGS and how damaging they can be, read our blog, What is FOGS? Revisiting Fats, Oils, Grease, and Solids.
What’s the Cost of FOGS-Induced Environmental Damage?
The financial repercussions of poor grease trap maintenance stretch farther than your establishment, and we’re not just talking about the blow to the company’s reputation. By failing to adhere to the regulations of FOGS disposal, you’re subjecting yourself to heavy fines for non-compliance or even jail time, such as this case in Polk County, Florida. Also, you may be responsible for the cost of repairs or cleanup of sewer overflows, clogged plumbing lines, and damage to wastewater treatment plants caused by solidified FOGS.
Mitigating the Risks of Environmental Harm
Avoiding these disasters starts with having your business’s grease trap maintained, emptied, and disposed of by professionals. Making sure your trap undergoes routine cleaning is important, but some further precautions you can take include:
- Review your grease traps safety protocols, as per OSHA’s Hazard Bulletin.
- Research your local laws and regulations regarding grease disposal.
- Ensure your trap is functioning at peak performance by replacing parts when necessary.
- Discuss compliance protocols with your grease trap specialist.
Following these steps will help mitigate environmental hazards caused by grease, and to further help the environment – and even recuperate funds – you can look into the eco-friendly option of storing waste vegetable oil (WVO), which is recycled for biodiesel.
The negative environmental impact of FOGS is a serious concern, with New York City having spent $18 million in fatberg cleanup in 2017 alone, according to CBS New York. That’s why you should hire an experienced grease trap specialist so you can preserve the surrounding landscape and wildlife and protect your business. Food Grease Trappers has nearly two decades of experience maintaining grease traps and safely disposing of FOGS. If you’re interested in our services and wish to inquire about WVO, be sure to contact us today or request a free quote.