Ecological impact of poor grease management

One of the biggest challenges for the wastewater industry currently is removal and management of FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease) contaminants. What exactly is FOG? FOG is the byproduct formed due to cooking processes such as frying, sautéing, baking, etc. Most common components of FOG are – meat fats, deep-fried food, butter or margarine, food scraps, etc. Salad dressings, sauces, ice creams, and coffee also constitute FOG contaminants. The primary state of FOG can be liquid or solid depending on the nature and saturation of the complex hydrocarbon chains.  The Food Industry – food processing plants (slaughterhouse, dairy farm), restaurants, residential kitchens, etc. are the major contributor of FOG to wastewater collection systems.  The detrimental effects of FOG on the wastewater industry and the environment are elucidated in detail in literature. One of the prerequisites for sustainable development and to confront issues related to FOG is – effective waste management as demonstrated in Figure 1.

To resolve issues related to FOG, the waste hierarchy principles (Figure 1) must be implemented. Prevention or minimizing use of food products containing FOG is the fundamental step in this approach. If this is not feasible, the 3R (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) method should be implemented.  This article provides a brief overview of the impact of poor FOG management practices to industry and the environment overall. It is part of a new venture by Saniservice on Bio Cleaning of Sewer Pipes. Saniservice is now an exclusive distributor of SmartPipe Systems product viz. Biotroop BL-20 for efficient, ecological, and sustainable cleaning and maintenance of sewer pipelines across the UAE especially in commercial applications such as restaurants, cruise lines, real estate operators, shopping malls, industry, and water treatment facilities. SmartPipe System provides wastewater and pipe management solutions to sanitize drainage pipes and sewers without chemical or heavy flushing. All products are environmentally friendly and use natural microbial pipe treatment solutions based on live microbes.

Saniservice has been at the forefront of providing their customers with the latest products and sustainable, ecological disinfection treatment technologies available for sewer pipe maintenance and cleaning.

With “Bio Cleaning of Sewer Pipes”, Saniservice 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.



  1. Sewer Problems

Prolonged FOG deposition in sewer mains can cause corrosion of sewer linings in the absence of oxygen, reducing the lifespan of capital-intensive infrastructure such as large sewer mains. Further, FOG deposits/scaling can reduce sewer diameters, thus blocking the pipe and reducing flows. A sewer blockage at a given site does not indicate that’s the source of FOG accumulation. Studies show that FOG accumulated between 160-650 feet downstream from the origin of the FOG clog. Sewer blockages can result in odor nuisance and health impacts due to contamination. 

  1. Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Issues

FOG deposits in wastewater streams could hinder treatment processes at publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities. WWTP can potentially be overloaded due to FOG, thus slowing the treatment process. Additional pretreatment to remove FOG needs to be implemented such as Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF), centrifugation, filtration, biological removal, etc. These additional processes can increase the cost of operations and maintenance at the WWTP facilities. 

  1. Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO)

FOG generated from commercial and residential kitchens can get accumulated in ventilation hoods, drainage pipes via dishwasher and floor drains and eventually in sewer drains causing blockages and sanitary sewer overflows (SSO). These overflows can be a major cause of odor nuisance and it could also be a potential source of microbial contamination endangering human health. 

  1. Aquatic Life Endangered

One of the major detrimental impacts of FOG accumulation is on the aquatic lives living in the natural water sources due to the presence of oily water due to FOG releases from wastewater treatment plants into water bodies. The presence of fats, oils, and grease prevent penetration of sunlight into water bodies, thus hindering photosynthesis and ultimately flora and fauna under water. Eventually, these practices impact the human ecosystem and food chain.


The several ecological impacts due to poor FOG management discussed in the above section can be resolved by using microbial-based cleaners. Smart Pipe Systems’ Biotroop BL-20 is a microbial cleaning product specially used for maintenance of sewage pumping stations, sewers, pipes, etc. The Biotroop BL-20 helps to:

  • Prevent blockages, odor nuisances, and insect problems
  • Maximize condition and life cycle of plumbing equipment
  • Reduce the costs for plumbing sewer maintenance
  • Reduce the environmental damage from chemical cleaners and wastewater discharges
  • Provide an ecological alternative to heavy-duty chemical solutions
  • Develop new ecological products and solutions aiming for sustainable future




  1. Wallace, T., Gibbons, D., O’Dwyer, M., & Curran, T. P. (2017). International evolution of fat, oil and grease (FOG) waste management–A review. Journal of environmental management187, 424-435.
  2. Klaucans, E., & Sams, K. (2018). Problems with fat, oil, and grease (FOG) in food industry wastewaters and recovered FOG recycling methods using anaerobic co-digestion: a short review. In Key Engineering Materials(Vol. 762, pp. 61-68). Trans Tech Publications Ltd.
  3. Husain, I. A., Ma, A. F. A., Jammi, M. S., Mirghani, M. E., Zainudin, Z. B., & Hoda, A. (2014). Problems, control, and treatment of fat, oil, and grease (FOG): a review. Journal of oleo science, ess13182.
  4. Mattsson, J., Hedström, A., Viklander, M., & Blecken, G. T. (2014). Fat, oil, and grease accumulation in sewer systems: comprehensive survey of experiences of Scandinavian municipalities. Journal of environmental engineering140(3), 04014003.



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.