FOG Forum yields no clear way through the regulatory mist

British Water’s FOG Forum, held on 17 September at Cranfield University, provided a useful discussion platform with regards to waste management issues, but ultimately did not provide a definitive solution.

Five years ago a similar conference was held, from which the British Water FOG Forum was developed and the Foodservice Industry Fats, Oils and Grease Code of Practice was produced.

Updating the debate since that point, this year’s event saw over 100 delegates from water companies, research institutions, and grease management companies attend the event.

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The FOG Forum chairman, Phill Mills, opened the conference giving an overview of the issues, the number of blockages and the costs to the UK water industry of dealing with FOG-related issues. Professor Joel Ducoste of North Carolina State University delivered the keynote speech.

An update on research results and current projects was followed by an overview of the experience water companies have built up in dealing with these problems with an outline of their collaborative approaches.

The conference heard about Dublin’s licensing system for food establishments with regular FOG management systems inspections. Severn Trent Water is working with McDonalds on a training and awareness programme for staff.

Delegates heard about joint investigative working between an Environmental Health department and Northern Ireland Water that came up with some surprising results.

Elsewhere, Thames Water has built a pilot plant to separate and recover the oil and turn that into biofuel. This in turn will support the Mayor of London’s Biodiesel Programme.

Four different workshops allowed the delegates to discuss in depth current challenges, identify solutions, and promote collaboration. One of the issues identified was the necessity to raise industry standards and promote competent professionals.

With this in mind, a group of FOG solution providers are working on the development of an accreditation-based trade association. British Water is hoping to help facilitate other initiatives, to benefit all parties, under the FOG Forum umbrella.

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