Cafeteria Waste Systems Best Management Practices

Today’s emphasis on health and the environment has had many effects on large-scale Food Service Establishments (FSE’s). FSE’s are expected to meet new standards in both the food they provided and management practices they implement. The fresh food movement has evolved our perception of what is healthy bring with it vegetarian options, local sourced produce, free range meats, and bans on bottled water. While these changes can be disruptive at first, meeting the customer’s requirements isn’t an option.

Regulatory understanding of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and their effect on the environment is changing just as quickly as food quality requirements, but implementation of new practices tends to meet resistance. Too often BMP’s are seen as activities that subtract from a facilities bottom line. In reality it’s akin to properly maintaining a vehicle, neglect the vehicle and it will run for a while but expect a breakdown at the most inconvenient opportunity.

Even without an emergency situation or regulatory fines, neglecting BMP’s can have an ongoing and negative effect on a facilities bottom line. Poor BMP utilization causes symptoms such as interior and exterior odors, and drain flies. Facility operators can become accustomed to these problems but customers notice them immediately and pass judgment just as quickly.

As drain line specialists B Environmental provides both long and short term solutions to facilities trying to bring BMP’s back under control. Whether it’s BMP evaluation along with a plan for implementation or short-term solutions to address specific symptoms, B Environmental can get facilities back on track.

B Environmental has put together the following list of techniques and services which we recommend to customers to eliminate common and persistent drain line problems. 

Problem: Interior odor

Drain Line Clean-Out:

Drain Line clean-outs don’t have “P” traps and thus only barrier between sewer gas and the building interior is the clean-out lid. If the lid is cracked or missing, sewer gases can be entering the building. 

Floor Drains and Floor Sinks:

Floor Drains and Floor Sinks have “P” traps which creates a water barrier between the sewer gas and the building interior. If the water in the “P” trap is stagnant it can become a source for unwanted odor. Flush the trap by quickly pouring water into the trap from a five-gallon bucket. Another cause of Floor Sink/Drain related odor can be the absence of water in the “P” trap. If the water barrier is incomplete sewer gases enter the building. 

Grease Traps/Interceptors:

Grease retention vessels can be referred to by different names but regardless of the name, interior grease traps/interceptors can be a source of interior odor. All interior grease traps/interceptors should be pumped completely on a regular basis. Reduction of odor associated with these vessels can be both physical and chemical based. Ensure that the trap/interceptor is sealed completely. Reduce the amount of Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) and food solids that enter the vessel. Reducing grease can be attained by scraping dish and pan waste into the trash and utilizing an all-natural additive like B Environmental’s Grease Eradication System to consume the grease that does get into the system.  Food Particle waste can be reduced by scraping it into the trash as well as utilizing a devise such as B Environmental’s Fine Particle Strainer to remove food as small as coffee grounds from the waste stream.

Problem: Exterior odors:

Exterior odors as they relate to large scale FSE’s typically involve the exterior grease interceptor or trap. In some cases the interceptor/trap have vents that off-gas into an inappropriate area. This problem can be eliminated by using a B Environmental carbon vent filter to scrub the gas while allowing for proper ventilation. 

Another common exterior odor issue related to grease interceptor/trap is heat related off-gassing. In hot climates exterior vessels will release additional gas during hot seasons. To eliminate this issue have a company such as B Environmental inspect the manhole lids to determine if the lid seal is tight. If not, a secondary barrier lid can be inserted beneath the iron lid to create a better seal. 

In addition B Environmental’s Grease Eradication System (GES) can significantly reduce the amount of grease that accumulates in the vessel itself. While the system doesn’t eliminate your need to have the vessel pumped, it does reduce and degrade the FOG. As a result odor associated with the vessel is greatly reduced. The GES system is installed and operated by a B Environmental technician. Included in the service is interceptor/trap monitoring. This Monitoring allows our clients to know exactly how much waste they’re accumulating and with this information they can set pump-out rates and audit BMP’s accordingly. 

Problem: Drain Flies

Drain Flies are a persistent problem for many facilities. Not only are they unsanitary and mobile but the potential for customers noticing this problem is high. Drain Flies are only capable of living in a drain line if the line has an accumulation of organic solids. Regardless of the solids make-up, the flies feed and reproduce in the build-up. B Environmental provides a bacteria based product called Drain Blast that consumes the organic solids. By eliminating the flies’ food source and home, Drain Blast is a very effective solution.

In Summary:

Facilities with cafeterias face many challenges in managing their waste stream. Proper solutions to these issues require monitoring and continual focus on best management practices.

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