Sydney Water aims to clear the FOGS

Sydney Water

Sydney Water is partnering with the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia (R&CA) to tackle the problem of fats, oils and greases (FOGS) from food businesses entering Sydney Water wastewater system.

The campaign follows a 30 per cent reduction in blockages during COVID-19 lockdown due to the closure of businesses. High traffic areas such as Sydney CBD are being targeted after Sydney Water’s Bondi wastewater treatment plant had the greatest reduction with flows dropping by 16 per cent during this time.

Kevin Anderson, Minister for Water said the partnership between Sydney Water and R&CA will support businesses who have been doing it tough for a long time by providing them with a training program.

“This program will help businesses by educating them on how to produce less waste and the best way to dispose of it, as well as how to manage their treatment equipment,” Anderson said. “It will also encourage businesses to understand the impacts of their actions and become more sustainable, which will benefit them in the long run.”

Andy Mckechnie, Sydney Water’s Head of Business Customers said the statistics show greasy waste is a particular problem for commercial business customers.

“When many businesses were closed, we saw a correlation in our wastewater network with less blockages caused by FOGS. Liquid cooking oils used by restaurants harden as they cool down and act like glue, joining with other waste in our wastewater systems including food scraps and wet wipes to form fatbergs,” Mckechnie said.

“These fatbergs block pipes and can cause wastewater to flow back into premises, streets and the environment. Simple things such as scraping food scraps into the bin, not down the sink, and pouring any used cooking oils into a container and recycling them, all help in a big way.”

Wes Lambert R&CA Chief Executive Officer said it’s great to see an organisation such as Sydney Water wanting to take trade waste management beyond being just a compliance issue.

“We’re looking forward to working with Sydney Water to educate our members on why it’s important that they manage their waste sustainably, how they can reduce impacts on the environment and how it can also benefit their business,” Lambert said.

“Sustainability is a key selling point for food businesses who’ve had it tough during lockdown. This program brings even more opportunities for restaurants and other food businesses to show they care about their local communities and the broader environment.”

Any restaurant connected to the wastewater system must register for a connection agreement with Sydney Water and have approved treatment equipment such as grease traps. Businesses will receive digital accreditation and become eligible for the Sydney Water Sustainable Restaurant Award at next year’s Restaurant & Catering Awards.

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