Why FOG is still a problem

Martin Fairley of ACO Technologies is part of the FOG forum, which was set up to deal with the problem of reducing FOG.

The Forum developed out of ACO/ Cranfield University research in 2008. The university held its first FOG conference in 2010 and in the same year British Water joined forces to hold a FOG event.

A formal steering group was then set up and now has 4 working groups dealing with the problem of reducing FOG.

The problems of reducing FOG are multiple.

Speaking at the IWEX 2011 conference, Martin cited main problem areas: economic, environmental, legal and behavioural.

The last few years has seen sustained growth in the food service industries with more restaurants and take aways in city centres.

There has been an increased intensity in rainfall in recent years. This plus FOG in the combined sewer network leads to flooding. It is known now that FOC blockages and pumping station failures are a far greater cause of flooding than heavy rain alone.

There is a problem of awareness in the food establishment industry about the problem and how to deal with it. There’s a lack of knowledge about the legislation and which products are appropriate.

Products that meet the standards and are certified are often too large to fit into a restaurant so there is a real need to develop new products.

The FOG forum is working with other stakeholders including the hospitality industry, legislative and regulatory bodies and academic bodies to address these issues.

Their objectives are to reduce FOG, educate consumers and operators, carry out research on recycling FOG, influencing standards and informing the legal framework.

They aim to create an environment for FOG to be controlled at source and to improve equipment selection, installation and maintenance.

There is still a long way to go. Much is needed to be done to educate the producers of FOG, help them deal with the problem, develop new products and treatment processes and ensure the right legal framework is in place.

Looking at the next steps, Martin said: “The way forward is through combining science with extensive stakeholder involvement.

“The potential for equipment and servicecompanies to act collectively and bring about a real change is enormous.”

Alison Brown

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