For restaurant owners and other businesses with commercial kitchens, there is always an issue to deal with: disposing of fats, oils, and greases (FOG). When done improperly, these businesses risk harming the environment, damaging ecosystems, and polluting local water sources. While this sounds bad enough, there are costly consequences for improper FOG disposal, from fines and ordinances to the loss of business licensure.
Serving eligible companies with FOG recycling services since 1992, Oregon Oils is playing a huge role in preventing FOG water contamination in Southern Washington and the Portland, Oregon, area. Here, we explain the signs and dangers of FOG contamination and the importance of fat, oil, and grease removal from wastewater.
What Is FOG?
Standing for fats, oils, and greases, FOG is a byproduct of cooking. It is also naturally found in many common ingredients and food scraps, including:
- All types of cooking oil
- Grease from bacon and sausage
- Meat fats
- Peanut butter
- Salad dressing
- Sour cream
- Other high-fat foods
FOG may appear to be in liquid form after food preparation. However, never pour it down the drain. Over time, FOG congeals into solid pieces, which can become as hard as concrete and clog critical plumbing systems. When this happens, there is a high risk for local water contamination, as well as polluted soils affecting habitats on dry land.
Indications of FOG-Polluted Water
FOG water contamination is a universal problem throughout the United States and around the world. Water pollution is always a high risk when FOG is disposed of improperly. The following are signs of contamination of fats, oils, and greases in wastewater:
Because water and oil do not mix, it’s easy to identify bodies of water that might be contaminated by FOG. FOG-polluted water will appear to have swirls of oil sitting atop the surface. These swirls may be white, gray, black, or even clear in color.
Think of your kitchen garbage can after a day of heavy cooking – it likely doesn’t smell very good. FOG presents a similar problem when it makes its way into water, causing an unpleasant odor akin to rotting food.
Brown, Murky Water
Water contaminated by FOG often appears as a copper-red shade of brown, especially in direct sunlight. This is due to the FOG sitting on the water’s surface, as described above.
Backed-Up Pipes, Sewers, and Stormwater Drains
All plumbing systems lead to wastewater treatment facilities. When FOG is poured down the drain of any business or residence, it solidifies in pipes. Not only does this cause costly damage to plumbing, but it also back-ups in pipes and sewers, where contamination can leak into local waterways and other habitats.
Ill or Deceased Wildlife
When the water in streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes becomes contaminated, many species are affected negatively. For example, animals drinking water from these areas, as well as the fish swimming around in them, can become ill or even die due to the contaminants from FOG.
Trust Oregon Oils for Fat, Oil, and Grease Removal from Wastewater
The best way for commercial businesses to prevent FOG water contamination is through best practices and professional assistance. It all begins with ongoing training for kitchen employees, as they are on the front lines of FOG disposal.
Oregon Oils is proud to be part of the solution with our grease recycling program, which is available to clients throughout the Portland, OR, metro area, and Southern WA. After properly and safely discarding your used cooking oil from your facility, we convert it into biodiesel, a very clean-burning fuel providing the same energy as regular diesel.
By taking the necessary steps to ensure fat, oil, and grease removal from wastewater, businesses can help protect the environment (and their bottom line). Our team makes it easy for FOG water pollution to no longer be a worry on your list. For more information, contact Oregon Oils today.