A lot of money. In some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Large amounts of grease. Used cooking oil. FOG. Whatever your industry, whatever you call it, it's costing you, your customers, your ratepayers—money. Potentially large amounts of money, depending on the severity of the grease involved.
Time spent in the additional hours spent cleaning grease from municipal sewer lines and facilities costs municipalities and wastewater agencies money, and takes crews away from other normal day-to-day operations. Time spent to replace sewer lines because they've become so corroded from the gases from the grease and wastewater, they are on the brink of collapse.
What could have been a nightmare in cleanup, mitigation/remediation, and financial responsibility recently cost London $220,000 to repair. It could have been so much more. Fortunately, this large city had an alarm program in place to alert sewer operations crew that something was wrong. Very wrong. Gases from the human waste, and from the improper disposal of fats, oils and grease, had corroded a major pipeline, severely deteriorating it to where it was at a risk of complete collapse. What could have cost property owners, including restaurants, businesses, and residents was avoided and lessened because the city reacted quickly, and had proactive measures in place. They avoided significant flooding to properties and local waterways.
This can be happening in pipes near you, and you wouldn't know about it ... until it's too late.
The costs involved can add up. Property damage claims from businesses and property owners. All of which can be recovered from the responsible party. Financial liability for an issue that could have been prevented can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars when all the fines, additional inspections, and any plumbing and equipment repairs are done.
Time spent cleaning up wastewater that has backed up into your restaurant's kitchen, causing a mess, creating a safety issue. Slip and falls can impact your insurance claims. Wastewater backups can (and should!) cause the health department to close your doors until the cleanup is done to protect public health and safety. It’s bad for business when you need to close your doors, or your drive-thru window because of a sewage backup.
Each year, commercial kitchens generate millions of pounds of grease. In many cases, a large portion of it gets recycled. However, large amounts still enter the sewer system from the rinsing and scraping of plates, from dishwashers, and from floor drains. Grease slips down kitchen drains from restaurants, residences, and other foodservice facilities, unnoticed ... until your drain becomes blocked, wastewater backs up into the kitchen sink or via the floor drains.
Or until the nearby sewer pipe becomes clogged, choked with grease buildup coating the inside, reducing the capacity of the pipe until the wastewater can no longer go through. It then backs up; into nearby homes and businesses, possibly back into yours.
Or it spills out in the environment. These spills are illegal under federal law, and many municipal ordinances. This can lead to even larger fines and cleanup action necessary to remediate the situation.
Time spent dealing with the regulatory agencies that are protecting water quality for all, whether it's drinking water, or a nearby beach recreational area. It’s a big holiday weekend in the U.S., and beach travel will be going headstrong through the summer months. And it’s fishing season, and fish don’t like bacteria. Nutrients from wastewater can contribute to algal blooms which cause additional problems.
Sanitary sewer overflows are unsightly, unpleasant, smell awful, and present a potential health and safety risk.
This risk can be prevented.
By implementing a grease control program, and educating employees on the proper practices to prevent grease and debris from going down the drain, you can avoid costly measures to remediate. All foodservice facilities should have a program in place, and train regularly. It’s worth it!