Rx for Preventing, Removing and Keeping Pipes Free of FOG
September 8, 2015The old sayings “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and “Prevention is the best medicine” are great rules to follow when it comes to personal health. As important as it is to eat well and exercise to keep our arteries clear and hearts healthy, prevention is also true when it comes to keeping fats, oils and grease (FOG) out of our sewer systems.
Sewage backups and overflows are often the result of the introduction FOG into the collection system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified grease from restaurants, homes and industrial sources as the most common cause — 47 percent — of reported blockages. The EPA’s Report to Congress on combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) reported grease as being problematic because it solidifies, reduces conveyance capacity and blocks flow. Effectively reducing and eliminating FOG in sewer systems requires a solid commitment from the community, local businesses and the system owner to first prevent, then remove — and finally keep FOG out.
The best way to tackle this problem is through education and compliance. Awareness among the general population regarding the importance of being diligent when it comes to eliminating the fats and oils they put down their garbage disposals and sinks is a basic first step. Unfortunately, many people believe that their small contribution won’t make a difference, so they pour the bacon grease right down the sink drain without giving it a second thought. Helping residents understand how their contributions of FOG collectively impact the entire system is important, however, education and compliance among commercial service companies that produce FOG is even more critical.
Many municipalities around the United States are taking major steps to build awareness of FOG prevention programs to their residents and businesses. The City of Virginia Beach, Va., for example, provides education for establishments in the food service industry about the importance of maintaining grease control devices such as interceptors, keeping accurate records, and ensuring they fully understand what to expect during a compliance inspection.
“We changed our city ordinance to enforce compliance inspections,” said Stephen Motley, regulatory compliance manager for the City of Virginia Beach. “We now have a full-time city inspector dedicated to ensure compliance is met.”
While prevention is the easiest and most cost-effective way to address FOG, removing FOG through a regular grease control program is also necessary to prevent SSOs. “We have been using JetPower II from Duke’s Sales and Service Inc.,” continued Motley. “It has been a critical part of our ongoing efforts to reduce and eliminate FOG.”
One of many FOG removing products available, JetPower II is a liquid blend of surfactants and binding agents designed for applications through high-pressure sewer cleaning equipment for cleaning and controlling grease buildup in sewers, pump stations, wastewater treatment plants and manholes. A non-petroleum-based product, JetPower II is not corrosive, caustic or acidic and application is safe for both the technician and the jetting equipment.
Applied during normal sewer cleaning activities, Jet Power II is mixed as a 1 percent solution either directly into the water tanks of the jetting equipment or an injector system, which can be configured for trucks, allowing for delivery of the product directly into the jetting system. When applied according to instructions, the agitation of the grease with JetPower II causes the grease to break down into very small particles. The surfactants are responsible for this part of the process while the binding agents encapsulate and coat the tiny grease particles, creating the liquidity of the grease and preventing the particles from re-coagulating downstream.
Only one pass upstream and back of JetPower II is typically needed to clean virtually all of the grease from the pipe. The product leaves a slick surfactant film on the inside of the pipe which helps prevent new grease from building up right away, reducing the frequency of cleaning throughout the life of the pipe.
Keeping Pipes Clear
Once pipes have been cleared of FOG using a product like JetPower II, technologies are now available to help keep the pipe FOG-free. In-Pipe Technology Co. Inc., for example, provides a biological drip system that, when introduced to cleaned sewer pipes, controls new grease from building up.
A unit is installed inside a manhole with a panel that creates a biofilm that overtakes the existing bacteria in the sewer. The earth-based product has been developed specifically for fighting FOG.
When introduced to the system following an application of JetPower II, the biofilm is created in approximately one week, compared to up to 90 days in a pipe that has not been cleared of FOG. This two-step process of removing FOG and working to keep it out of our sewer systems is the next best thing to preventing it from clogging our pipes in the first place.
Sheila Joy is president of New Phase Marketing.