While it’s impossible to keep a drain completely clear, there are several best practice steps that businesses can adopt to cut the risk of expensive blockages.

1. Plates, pots, trays and utensils should be scraped and dry wiped with a disposable kitchen towel prior to putting them in the sink or dishwasher. Any scrapings and waste food should then be placed in the bin.

2. Food debris can quickly build up in drains, restricting wastewater flow. By using a simple waste food strainer, occupiers can prevent even small amounts of food from entering the drain.

3. Any commercial kitchen serving food should have some form of defence in place to stop fat, oil and grease from entering the drains and sewers. This usually involves having a grease management system installed directly after the pot wash sink, dishwasher or combi oven.

4. If a kitchen is compliant with the Waste Legislation Act and has a grease management system in place, it’s vital that it is being used properly. Grease traps are specially designed units placed in drain pipes to separate fat, oil and grease from the rest of the wastewater. Wastewater then continues to flow to the sewage works for treatment, while grease is retained in the trap. These units can be highly effective if correctly installed, serviced and maintained. Any collected fat, oil or grease should not be poured back down the drain – a surprisingly common occurrence in many commercial kitchens.

5. Any waste oil collected should be stored in a separate, labelled, air-tight container or drum to

prevent odours and keep out rats. The container should be stored in a secure area, clear of all drains, to prevent leakages and spills.

6. The Environment Agency licenses waste oil collectors, and they can provide a list of those operating in your area. You must ensure your waste contractor is an environment agency licensed waste carrier, and that they give you a copy of the waste transfer note. You should also check that the waste is being taken to a licensed waste management site. Waste transfer notes should be kept for two years and made available for inspection under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

7. All bins on site should be clearly labelled for food waste and recycling, and a suitable container provided to store captured waste oil for collection. All toilets must have separate, labelled bins for sanitary products, nappies and wipes.

8. Get in the habit of spending a few minutes each week maintaining your grease management systems. This is often just a case of emptying the food basket, storing collected waste oil and wiping clean the stainless steel extractor.

These simple steps will not only help reduce blockages, but will also eliminate costs, prevent negative publicity, disruption to your business, and maybe even avoid prosecution of your business that flooding could result in. They could even reduce water usage, preserve supplies and lower your bills. TOMORROW’S FM | 47

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