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Fats oils and grease fog analysis in trade effluent

Why do FOG cause a problem in trade effluent?

When fats, oils and grease (FOG) are hot and are in liquid form, they pour easily down the drain or sink and appear harmless. However, when they cool, it solidifies and builds up inside the pipes, similar in effect to the clogging of a human artery.

The food and drink industry is especially prone to high levels of FOG in trade effluent discharges. This results in expensive effluent bills and very often fines due to breaches of consent. UK companies have recently invested in the InfraCal 2 analyser from Spectro Scientific to determine levels of FOG in effluent.

Where do FOG come from?

Many production sites use ingredients or manufacture products that naturally contain fat, oil and grease – from ice cream to meat substitute to ready meals. During production, the FOG are liberated and end up as a waste product or in tank or floor washings. The manufacturer then needs to find a way to dispose of them in an ethical and economic manner. If the concentration falls below a consent level they can be discharged from site or may need to be treated first.

What is the current approach?

Many sites have effluent treatment tanks whilst others discharge directly. A major issue is not knowing what’s in the effluent on a weekly/daily or even hourly basis. How can a site manager know how to discharge waste when they do not know what it contains?

Many sites send away samples to an external laboratory where results take 5-10 days to come back. This is typically a random grab sample taken or a cumulative sample. However, this only provide sites with historical data that cannot be used to prevent exceeding consent levels. Worse still, inspectors may come to site from an external agency to take samples and not having knowledge of current discharge levels is a position of weakness.

How can FOG be measured quickly and easily on-site?

The InfraCal 2 analysers provide accurate, easy on-site analysis to help both regulators and industry reduce excessive oil/grease discharges and comply with permit requirements. On-site results are attained in 10 minutes, eliminating the wait for remote lab results.

The extraction and measurement procedure is simple enough for an operator with minimal training to do the analysis. The InfraCal 2 is a compact, fixed-filter mid-infrared analyser with no moving parts. It weighs less than five pounds (2.2kg), can be battery operated and has a limit of detection of 0.3ppm. This makes it portable, sturdy and operable in the range of ambient conditions typically found in field environments.

InfraCal 2 ATR-SP

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