Proper Grease Disposal

phatch

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I've read a couple of news articles lately about grease in the sewage systme. L.A. is reported to have a problem with restaurant grease dumping that leads to sewage clogs that leads to sewer failures. Basically the liquid grease solidifies in the cooler temps of the sewer.

Now, I'm seeing a grease report for sewers in my area.

So how do restaurants properly deal with grease? This is also an issue to land fills as they have to handle grease differently than other refuse too.

Do restaurants just pay an extra sewage fee to account for the grease?

And what about the home cook. I try not to put grease down the drain as it clogs things up. But my only other disposal option is the landfill with the weekly garbage pickup.

I've read about biodiesel recycling for some oils, but that's not widespread anywhere.

Watching a PBS progam with my kids once, they showed a powder under study that you would add to grease after cooking. This created a medium soft solid that you scraped out into the garbage. The residue could still be cleaned as normal. Never came to fruition.

Phil
 
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We have an oil bin out back and about once a month or so, the waste management company comes and empties it for us.
 
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All the restaurants I worked in with any excess quantity of grease had a company that picked up the grease.
Remember the Simpsons episode where Homer tried stealing the school cafeterias grease? It was Janitor Willys retirement fund, ahh..."Liquid gold" Go ahead boy, have another pound of bacon!

The home cook without excess, if you put it down the drain, do so with cold water, otherwise if you run it down with hot water when it hits a cold area it will solidify and create a blockage at that point. Cold water will circumvent that solidification spot.
 

phatch

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You guys are doing it right then, but is it a problem in the industry?

Phil
 
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Out west there have been grease abatement regulations in effect for at least 10 years. Where I live I had to install a 50gpm flow rate grease trap ("the spa") for my dishwashing triple sink. Local officials have decided that EACH basin of a triple sink counts as a separate appliance hookup. We also use "best management practices" which keeps a lot of waste from getting into the sinks to begin with. The city randomly checks for grease build-up in our sewer lines to make sure we are in compliance. I pay to have the accumulated grease emptied 4 times a year and also use bacteria in my greasetrap so that the grease is further broken down. We just did some plumbing on our main sewer connection recently and found 0 buildup after 6 years.
 
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Yeah, where I've worked ( in NYC), we almost always had a big oil drum into which we would pour the old oil from the deep fryer, etc. The grease company would pick it up every week (we changed the oil daily). The restaurant would get paid for the grease. Where we didn't have that collection, because there was not that much excess grease, it would just go into the garbage, NEVER down the drain.

I think it's a New York City regulation that you have to have a grease trap. Believe me, if you were ever nearby when a grease trap got cleaned, you'd be really careful about making sure it didn't get clogged. :eek:

At home, if it's a small amount, I just pour it into the garbage. From deep frying, after it's cool I pour it back into the bottle and put the bottle in the can.
 

phatch

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Thats what I do Suzanne, except for when I boil sausages or something and have oil all mixed in the water. Then it's down the drain. Maybe I should correct that habit based on what's been posted here.

Phil
 
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At work, our 3-bin sink has a baffle-style grease trap with an EcoLab auto-timed grease inhibitor. Basically, it injects 8oz of some freakish enzyme that breaks down the grease in the trap overnight and it flows to the Delaware River the next day. Our trap, as well, is cleaned bi-anually.
At home, I just chuck out behind the shed.
 
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I've just been talking to EcoLab about this clever new product they have. Grease is typicaly treated with an enzime to break it down. However, in most cases it re-coagulates further down the line and causes back ups. This new product is a bacteria that eats the grease (yum:) ) and breaks it down into it's component parts never to reform as grease. Sounds like the stuff Jim is using.
The bulk of the cooking grease is stored in bins and the rendering comnpany (Darling International) takes it away. It doesn't go to land fill, it is reincarnated as some usefull product and recycled.
So Jim, EcoLab wants $73 a month per chemical pump set up which includes everything; chemical, maintenance, service, etc. Would you recomend it?

Jock
 
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at home, instead of putting your deep frying oil back in the bottle and throwing it away, is there ussually a place where you can take it where it will not go to waste? I have some old oil sitting on the stove and i dont' know what to do with it. My sauteeing oil just gets thrown onto my sautee grass. Its this patch of grass that is black from being burnt by hot oil. is that ok?

Ron
 
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I think EcoLab has different plans (rackets) for different markets. For this place, I got the equipment without charge, but I pay for the chemical. Each 5-gal bucket runs around $114 and lasts 4-5 months. Not a bad deal. As for it being effective - it works well. We have not had to do the dodge-the-grease dance from the grease trap overflowing. It is a lot less expensive than hiring a plumber (just once!) to unclog a line. Also, it makes the bi-monthly scoop-out easier.
 

phatch

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In the gardening things I've read, there is mention of greywater disposal in the yard unless it's greasy too. They never say exactly why grease disposal is bad, but I would guess it tends to clog things up and prevent air and moisture flow in the soil, as well as potentially getting into groundwater.

Phil
 

phatch

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After the discussion on bacteria injection, and re-reading the local article, I think I may have discovered something between the lines.

In the article about LA, the grease complaint was clogging lines. I assumed the local article was mostly about the same thing but it wasn't. It was about BOD at the fermenters. BOD being Biological Oxygen Demand. This is a reflection on the effeciency of the fermenters reducing the effluent to more acceptable disposal products. Lots of restaurant grease and raw food scraps from home disposals drive up the time and oxygen demand of the fermenters reducing the capacity of the sewage system to process the discharge in a timely manner.

So the bacteria injectors increase the time for digestion by jump starting the process. I wonder what my local eateries do about their grease....

Phil
 
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For home cooks - DO NOT dump grease down your drain.

Many, many years ago I both installed new septic systems and repaired/replaced old ones. In the latter case, the failure of the system was almost always due to clogging of the perforated pipes in the leach field by a combination of grease and hair. A really disgusting mess.

I'll repeat - don't dump grease down your drain.
 
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Commercial grease traps. Get them serviced professionally. To do it yourself is not unline cleaning out your own septic system - something you might know how to do but do you really want to do it yourself?
 
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I have actually seen powders that solidify grease, my Japanese coworker told me about them and showed them to me at a Japanese market, apparently they are very popular and common to use in Japan. You could try looking for them at your local Japanese market.
 
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I have read in the newspaper about grease being stolen--no kidding.

In some parts of the USA (as in this area), people steal barrels of grease to make biodiesel. Restaurants, at least some, get paid to have their grease hauled away instead of them paying the haulers. I'm not kidding.
 
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Most municipalities have a rule of a MINIMUM of a 55 gal. per minute grease interceptor for any restaurant kitchen. It's not magic, just a big box with an inlet and an outlet and two or three screens and baffles. Greasy water goes in to the box, grease rises to the top, dirty-albeit grease free water goes down the drain. Depending on usage the crust of grease/crud needs to be removed every 3-4 mths. All sinks--including hand sinks, and mop sinks as well as floor drains and any other equipment and (kettles, tilt-skillts) MUST be hooked up to this as well--but NOT the dishwasher.

Many municipalities around here "suggest" that you open it and clean it out yourself one a month and have the "honey wagon" suck it out 2-3 times a year. And there's method to this madness: If you clean it out yourself, you know what is going down your drain, and might possibly, actually pay more attention to the dish pit. What do you do with the crud? Scoop it into a mayo bucket with a tight fitting lid and put into the dumpster.. Don't like mucking it out? Take a little more care, wipe out greasy sheet pans and cookware with wadded up newspaper first to get rid of most of the crud, and better yet have filter system in the dish pit to remove most of the solids before they even hit the grease trap.

ABOVE ALL do not use a garbage disposal unit and do not hook up a potato peeler directly to the grease trap, these things can wreak some serious damage to the whole sewer system.. And believe me, you do NOT want a city sewer worker showing up at your door with a "snake", a tiny video camera mounted on a cable that gets shoved down your lines for an inspection....

The whole thing grosses you out? There is the "Little dipper". It's a little box that has a series of rotating discs mounted in a platform that sits on the surface of the water in a smaller version of a grease trap. The little discs get "combed through" and the pure grease gets siphoned off into a container that you can sell or have picked up for free. This is about 3-4 times more expensive than a regular grease interceptor, but 3 times as more intelligent, and you don't need to pay the $2-$300 "honey dipper" charge every couple of months that you would for a regular grease interceptor

Deep fryer oil is a commodity. Bio-diesel is one use, soap is another.
 
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Cleaning the grease trap brings back bad memories :( I had to do it once a month when I worked fast food for a year. At home I dump the grease in my garden on top of the compost pile and mix it in. It degrades like the rest. another option for those without gardens is to fill an old ice cream pail with it and set it in the garbage.
 
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