Watch out for the fatberg costs

Jon Lawson

Mario Kelly explains how a business failing to treat its waste water contributes to the formation of fatbergs in sewers

With the blame for fatbergs often placed on consumers clogging drains with sanitary products, many businesses don’t realise the negative contribution of excess fats, oils and grease (FOG) contained in their waste water.

Once discharged into the sewage systems, FOG gathers and hardens to form fatbergs.

To help prevent this, strict regulation exists to limit the amount of trade effluent a business discharges.

Costs are incurred if a company’s waste water output exceeds this limit, with the price varying depending on the types of contaminants found within the effluent. This is determined using the Mogden formula.

To stay within the guidelines of legislation, businesses are expected to treat their waste streams before they discharge to public bodies of water. However, waste water requires frequent treatment, which often gets forgotten or neglected, resulting in a contaminant build-up between flushes.

Treating waste water is a constant battle as contaminants can accumulate in streams rather fast. It’s not enough for factories to infrequently apply solution to their water. It needs to be a regimented routine.

This requires a consistent amount of resources and labour, which some companies may not be able to provide as frequently as they should. That’s why NCH Europe has developed BioAmp, to keep up with the dosing demands of waste water.

NCH Europe’s BioAmp product is a range of automated, computer-controlled delivery system specifically designed for NCH’s FreeFlow solution. BioAmp automatically doses waste streams regularly with FreeFlow to bring down the manual labour requirements of treatment.

The FreeFlow solution contains twelve species of naturally occurring bacteria in a quantity that is 1000x larger than the nearest competitor. FreeFlow was developed as an alternative to standard treatment solutions, which frequently contain free enzymes or surfactants that simply liquefy contaminants and move them along. This contributes directly to the formation of fatbergs.

For many business owners, there may be an element of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to their waste water. But when the bill comes in for their effluent it’s impossible to ignore.

The same is true if a fatberg were to cause sewage to discharge into a factory, causing disruptions to production. This makes effective waste water treatment crucial from both an environmental and financial perspective. Negligence leads to serious problems.

Mario Kelly is VP of NCH Europe’s Waste Water Innovation Platform. 

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