Comparison of enzymes vs bacteria in drain treatment – part 2


            The composition of domestic and industrial wastewater has drastically changed including very high percentage of fats, oil, and grease (FOG) content owing to the increased use of oil and grease in processed foods, expansion of oil refineries across the world, and poor waste disposal methodologies adopted in residential houses and commercial businesses. When this wastewater containing high percentage of FOG content mixes with food and other sanitary waste in the sewer pipes, it causes blockages and foul odors. Additionally, pipe blockages can cause sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) and the reduced pipe capacity can result in bursting of pipes causing significant detrimental impacts to the environment and human health. Pretreatment of sewer waste before it is discharged into drainage system has therefore gained significant importance in recent years. There are several drain sanitation treatment methods available to prevent or remedy environmental issues caused by FOG.

Part 1 of this article titled – ‘Comparison of Enzymes vs Bacteria in Drain Treatment’ discussed about the different types of treatment available for FOG removal in sewer pipes. It also provided brief comparison of the performance of enzymatic and bacterial cleaning products.  This article discusses the comparison of enzymatic and bacterial products in further detail. Both bacterial and enzymatic cleaners are more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives than the tradition chemical cleaners. Bacterial and Enzymatic Cleaners are considered safer compared to Chemical Cleaners in that they do not create harmful chemical fumes that can irritate or burn eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. However, how does Enzymes and Bacteria help in treatment of wastewater with high FOG content? This article provides a brief discusses the methodology of enzymatic and bacterial cleaners. It is part of a new venture by Sani Service on Bio Cleaning of Sewer Pipes. Sani Service are now exclusive distributors of Smart Pipe Systems product viz. Biotroop BL-20 for efficient, ecological, and sustainable cleaning and maintenance of sewer pipeline across the UAE especially in commercial applications such as restaurants. Sani Service has been at the forefront of providing their customers with the latest products and sustainable and ecological disinfection treatment technologies available for Sewer Pipe Maintenance and Cleaning. With “Bio Cleaning of Sewer Pipes”, Sani Service aims to educate and inform their customers about the fundamentals of residential and commercial grease trap maintenance and sewer disinfection treatments primarily used for preventing pipe blockages and odor control.



The use of microbes in treatment of fats, oil, and grease in wastewater from residential and commercial establishments has garnered tremendous popularity in recent years. Microbial treatment is a type of bioremediation and is described as the accelerated breakdown of organic waste matter by using biological catalysts such as bacteria, enzyme, or fungi. These microbes when added to wastewater containing high concentrations of fats, oils, and grease, releases carbon dioxide and water as byproducts.

Microbial decomposition of FOG involves breakdown of complex fatty acids by enzymes released by microbes. When activated, Bacteria namely Bacillus bacteria produce/secrete enzymes based on the type of substrate and those enzymes breakdown the contaminants at the source and not just transferred downstream. Figure 1 explains the process involved in microbial degradation of fats, oils, and grease present in residential and commercial wastewater streams. Enzymatic cleaners on the other hand, are a group of chemical compounds or proteins (not live) that breakdown the organic waste matter. Based on their affinity for the general class of organic matter, enzymes are classified as:

Figure 1 – Microbial Decomposition of Waste


  • Protease – Enzymes that attack protein-based waste such as blood, meat, feces, etc.
  • Lipase – Enzymes that attack fats, oils, and grease
  • Amylase – Enzymes that attack starchy food such as rice, potatoes, etc.
  • Xylenase – Enzymes that attack plant-based food such as vegetables
  • Cellulase – Enzymes that attack wood fibers present in paper and paper products



The Biotroop BL-20 is a microbiological based cleaning solution that improves the longevity of piping and wastewater infrastructure systems by eliminating foul odor and blockages caused due to accumulation of fat, oil, and grease (FOG) and other organic matter. The Biotroop BL-20 is 100 percental natural microbial solution which is dosed with a programmable SmartPipe dosing pump. Microbes activate and consume the organic waste and eliminate foul odors. Some of the salient features of the Biotroop BL-20 are listed as follows:

  • It is highly effective on all types of organic waste matter
  • Use of this microbial solution neutralizes production of hydrogen sulfide, thus eliminating foul odors
  • Maximizes lifecycle of pipes and other sewer infrastructure
  • Reduces carbon footprint on the environment
  • Developed for biological wastewater treatment




  1. Jameel, A. T., Muyubi, S. A., Karim, M. I. A., & Alam, M. Z. (2011). Removal of oil and grease as emerging pollutants of concern (EPC) in wastewater stream. IIUM Engineering Journal, 12(4).
  2. Brooksbank, A. M., Latchford, J. W., & Mudge, S. M. (2007). Degradation and modification of fats, oils, and grease by commercial microbial supplements. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 23(7), 977-985.
  7. Sheridan, W. D. (1994). Reference Data Sheet For Chemical and Enzymatic Drain Cleaners. Meridian Engineering and Technology. Nov8.


Meet our Expert

Abhiram Satyadev has a Masters in Environmental Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an MBA at Goldey Beacom College in Delaware, and a Masters Certificate in Standford University. He is currently the Program Manager, Potomac Interceptor for the DC Water in Washington DC. He is responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining the Potomac Interceptor Renewal Facility specifically including operation and maintenance of odor control facilities at the Potomac Interceptor Sites and Pump Stations.

With Saniwater, he serves as our Research and Development Consultant and provides us with insights into his expertise. Read his section here on to know more.