What are FOGs?

Fats Oils and Greases (FOGs) are often the culprits for blocked drains in domestic, industrial and commercial premises.  But, what are they, what do they do and how can you avoid them?  This blog will explain.

What are FOGs?

FOGs stand for fats, oils and greases.  As you can imagine, they are used extensively through most households and businesses.  They more obviously occur in commercial kitchens and canteens but can occur from other areas of the business.  FOGs are found in things like grease, cooking oil, butter, food scraps and meat fats.

What do they do?

Sometimes FOGs are disposed of by pouring them down drains and sinks.  When poured away, they are in liquid form but solidify as they cool down.  As they congeal and harden, FOGs stick to the inner lining of drainage pipes and can create blockages which cause serious operational issues.  Blockages can occur within your site drains or can leave site and cause serious issues down the line.  FOGs can also capture other waste disposed of into the sewer network like wet wipes which can make a blockage worse and develop into something called a fatberg.  These can completely block pipes, cause flooding and be very expensive to clear.

Why do I need to avoid FOGs?

There are a number of regulations that prohibit you from discharging FOGs to the sewer network.  The Water Industry Act 1991 states that it is a criminal offence to discharge any matter into a public sewer which interferes with the free flow of wastewater, which includes FOGs.  If you are found to have discharged FOG to sewers, particularly if it has caused a blockage, you could be subject to prosecution that could range from substantial fines to imprisonment.  In addition, you may be liable to recover the costs of removing blockages, cleaning sewers and investigating/ remedying flooding and pollution occurrences resulting from the blockage.  As well as the legal implications, a blockage as a result of the incorrect disposal of FOGs could cause severe operational disruption from blocked drains, foul smells and flooding.  This can be costly and disruptive.

How can you avoid them?

If you produce FOGs in any way, you should have a grease management strategy to prevent unlawful discharge.  There are a variety of options dependent upon your activities and budget.  You could use a dosing unit that injects enzyme and grease digesting bacteria into your waste stream, reducing the possibility of a blockage forming.  Alternatively, you could install a grease trap that will hold wastewater that enters the trap, allowing FOGs to harden and float to the top and food solids to settle, preventing them from entering drains.

It is essential that you manage all of your waste streams correctly and you should take action to prevent fats, oils and grease from entering drains, potentially causing a blockage.  You will need to manage an appropriate solution and ensure you keep up maintenance of your system to ensure it remains effective.