Thermaco Blog

Nine types of facilities that need oil-water separators

Car wash and lube shop signFood-service establishments aren’t the only businesses that have to keep oil and grease out of wastewater.

Federal, state and local clean water regulations require facilities that generate petroleum oil waste to use oil-water separators to ensure oil doesn’t escape into the sewer system. When oil does escape, not only can it cause big problems for treatment systems, it can also mean significant fines and other penalties for the facility that produced the waste oil.

While specific regulations vary somewhat from state to state, here are nine types of facilities commonly required to have oil-water separators.

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9/29/15 9:42 AM

Six tactics cities use to keep FOG out of wastewater systems

Worker repairs sewer linesFats, oils and grease (FOG) in wastewater are one of the biggest challenges facing wastewater systems around the world. Grease, sometimes along with solids, can build up into a solid mass that can narrow or even block wastewater pipes. When that happens, sewers overflow, pipes break, and local authorities are forced to clean up the mess and make repairs.

In the United States alone, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as many as 47 percent of all wastewater system blockages are caused by the buildup of grease. In New York City alone, those annual repairs cost nearly $5 million. Other large cities also rack up multi-million dollar bills for repairs and emergency service.

Cities are adopting a number of tactics to keep grease out of their wastewater systems.

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9/22/15 9:31 AM

11 best management practices to control grease in your commercial kitchen

Chef in commercial kitchen with staffThough having a grease interceptor is required in virtually all commercial kitchens, there’s much more to controlling fats, oils and grease (FOG).

Why should you care? It’s not just about staying in compliance with government regulations and avoiding fines or even potential shutdowns. Best management practices to control FOGs in your kitchen will also save you money on maintenance and reduce the risk of costly, emergency plumbing repairs inside your building.

Here are eleven best management practices to control grease, save money and protect your business’ reputation.

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9/15/15 9:42 AM

Look what happened when we combined 19,200 gallons of water and 1,920 pounds of lard

Trapzilla TZ-1826 Grease InterceptorA commercial kitchen wouldn’t repeatedly send 200 gallons of burning water and 20 pounds of hot lard through its grease interceptor even on the busiest night. And a blizzard would make it even less likely. 

But this past February, that’s what we subjected our newest grease interceptor, the Trapzilla TZ-1826, to — during a storm.

The TZ-1826 is the third-generation Trapzilla, with a tank design optimized to retain more grease in as small a footprint as possible. We tested the TZ-1826 to the ASME standard to determine its efficiency and capacity.

We didn’t expect what happened next.

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9/8/15 8:34 AM

A better grease interceptor: More grease in less space

TZ-1826 Grease InterceptorTo understand the new TZ-1826 Trapzilla Grease Interceptor, consider two numbers: 1,826 and 11,000. 

The first is how many pounds of grease the TZ-1826 can hold. The second is how much a 1,000-gallon concrete trap weighs — a concrete trap that would hold a similar amount of grease, but would require heavy machinery to install and take up three times as much space as the TZ-1826.

How is that possible? That’s what happens when you apply a quarter century of grease interceptor innovation and oil-water separation expertise to a problem that a growing number of commercial food service establishments face: Lots of grease, but not much space for a high-capacity grease trap.

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9/1/15 7:56 AM

How dirty waste makes for clean energy

Wastewater treatment plantFor the past few decades, scientists have experimented with using all kinds of waste, from animal to human, to produce methane gas via anaerobic digestion.

As arguably the largest supplier of organic waste, some large-scale farmers have been an instrumental part of the process, working hand-in-hand with researchers as the go-to source for methane-producing waste. Pioneering farms have been using the technology since the 1980s to harness energy to power their operations.

But, the process isn’t just for farmers anymore. Wastewater treatment facilities are getting in on the action. As they explore ways to extract more energy from waste and reduce their operating costs, innovative plants are finding ways to turn more types of waste, including solid food waste, into energy.

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8/25/15 8:00 AM

Why grease trap to fuel tank makes sense

Biodiesel storage tankFor the past couple of decades, yellow grease, or used fryer oil, has been the go-to source for biodiesel production. Each gallon of yellow grease produces almost the same volume of biodiesel. 

Though the biodiesel yield is much lower for brown grease (50 percent), pioneering organizations are discovering uses for all types of grease trap waste. Sustainable energy innovators are finding that grease trap waste, if properly processed, can be used in a number of other ways. 

Learn about how new research and technology is creating ways to re-use fats, oil and grease, reducing the impact on the environment and saving money at the same time.

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8/20/15 8:05 AM

Nine dos and don'ts for hiring a grease trap pumping contractor

Pump truck cleaning out a grease trapBusiness managers might feel as if their lives revolve around quarters … quarters of the year, that is. From taxes to financial reports and marketing initiatives, managers have a laundry list of tasks to accomplish four times a year. Food service establishment operators have yet one more responsibility to tackle at least once a quarter — the pumping of the grease trap.

Granted, most restaurant and commercial kitchens contract out this dreaded deed, but the manager still must choose a trusted contractor. Working with someone that cuts corners or is frequently tardy could land FSE operators in hot water with their municipalities.

 Because the middle layer of water is what exits the tank, installing a properly sized interceptor — and regular maintenance to ensure the grease and water levels are at appropriate levels — are of utmost importance. Also important, hiriing the right contractor to clean out the grease interceptor periodically. Here are some tips.

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8/18/15 8:03 AM

How Asheboro is tackling waste-to-energy projects

Asheboro Wastewater Treatment PlantLike many wastewater treatment facilities, the Asheboro Wastewater Treatment Plant, is under constant pressure to do more with less.

Already, the facility has cut in half the amount of electricity it uses to run the blowers in its two aeration tanks.

But the facility is now looking at some additional innovations to save money by reducing energy costs, reducing waste disposal costs and process even more waste from customers.

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8/13/15 7:59 AM

How the Asheboro wastewater treatment plant achieves more with less

Aeration tank at Asheboro wastewater treatment plantThe Asheboro Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1962, during a different era. The Cuban Missile Crisis was right around the corner and America had just launched a space race to put the first man on the moon.

At the time, if you had mentioned “Class A biosolids” or “thermophilic bacteria” to a manager or operator at the plant, chances are they would have looked at you as though you had just come from the moon.

But the Asheboro, N.C. plant — even with some infrastructure that dates back more than 50 years — is on the leading edge of wastewater treatment. And it is the plant’s operators and staff that now talk about biosolids, bacteria and other cutting edge practices.

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8/11/15 8:30 AM