When I'm often asked when grease interceptors should be serviced, I wonder whether those who are asking have bigger concerns -- notably that increasing the pumping frequency of grease separators does not eliminate high FOG effluent numbers.
Today and in the future, the link between customer and vendor will be absolutely vital. Why? Consider the struggle restaurant operators are having with hiring. It’s not just food service, either. All service industries are having trouble with staffing, including plumbing.
Restaurant businesses need vendors to step up with the kind of help we provide. We all know optimal service begins with having good customer information to begin with. That’s why we just launched a campaign to compel more customers to register their devices with us.
Testing your assumptions is always good as a pretreatment professional because so many variables impact your job. New technology and data can compel you to change some of your longest-held beliefs.
Is it possible to assume there are universally held “technical understandings” that solve nearly all fats/oils/grease issues? Are there other universally held “technical understandings” that are expected to solve TSS, BOD, pH, and other pretreatment/collection system issues? How did these “universally held technical understandings” come about and why are they still the tail that wags the proverbial dog?
This post questions a few of these universally long-held “technical understandings.”
In the late 1980s, The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) provided a great example of how to maximize control when it carried out one of the most effective Pretreatment programs I've seen in my career. It had to implement an audacious pretreatment program to reduce downstream wastewater treatment plant loadings sufficient to meet the EPA’s first Marine Estuary Guidelines. The NBC was in a tough spot.
Pretreatment’s Three-Legged Stool
A simple, yet effective way to explain on-site pretreatment is to use a three-legged stool analogy.
A three-legged stool works only when all three legs are the same length and angle and have the same strong attachment to the stool seat. If any leg is shorter, at a different angle, or loosely connected to the seat, the stool is unstable.
The same is true for onsite pretreatment. A food service establishment (FSE) may have
Leg 1: The right grease separator and
Leg 2: Good servicing (pumping frequency and quality)
But if it has poor internal management practices (Leg 3), the FSE will send higher than allowed waste into the sewer system.
Likewise, a site skimping on pumping (Leg 2) will handicap its proper technology (Leg 1) and best management practices (Leg 3). Upcoming blog posts delve into practical information for each of these legs. We begin with Best Management Practices 101.
Long periods of inactivity hurt seals, fuel systems, and moving parts of most mechanical systems. That’s why many automobiles don’t like it. Gas-powered lawn mowers and string trimmers don’t like it. Grease separators don’t like it either.
The inactivity caused by pandemic shutdowns can make some grease interceptors more hazardous to your health. Let’s find out why by taking a closer look at what happens in separators with little or no input flows.
The discourse at CWEA's annual conference was lively despite the virtual setting. Pretreatment professionals discussed ways they adapted during the Pandemic, while cities shared aggressive plans to expedite permitting processes and get commercial clients up and running again.
For two decades, Tony Fulginiti has helped keep facilities running smoothly at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, Mass. All that time, the school has managed its grease with Big Dipper automatic grease interceptors.
“I like the design of Big Dipper units,” says Fulginiti, who is now Building Superindentant at Bay Path. “I like how easy disposing of the grease is on a daily basis. The maintenance directions and sheets that come with them are thorough. I also like that we haven’t had to replace much over the years. But overall, the ease of use is key for us.”
We speak to anyone with a FOG (fats, oils and grease) inquiry and often end up pointing them in a totally different direction than they originally were headed. It’s a pattern in these conversations. Occasionally, this involves a caller with an MGD mindset. Here is an example of how one of these calls typically proceeds.
Since the pandemic began, Four Saints Brewing Company has been one of the most visible small businesses in our home base of Asheboro, NC. It has hosted virtual concerts, partnered with a food truck, and stepped up its social media presence to soften the blows it’s taken from state-mandated restrictions and shutdowns.
Along the way, owner and CEO Joel McClosky has discovered his taproom’s unofficial status as the town’s “third place” has been both a blessing and a curse in the COVID era.