Canary Wharf, London

Client: Canary Wharf building
Type of works: manufacture and supply of ACO grease separator

The latest high performance grease separator technology from ACO Building Drainage, the UK’s leading specialist in drainage systems and corrosion resistant building products, is helping one of the world’s top financial services company to dispose of fats, oils and grease waste from the staff kitchen at its European headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, in a way that is hygienic, simple to operate, and environmentally responsible. ACO’s innovative Hydrojet system was specified to eliminate the ongoing problems of labour intensive maintenance, safety and staff discomfort experienced with the previous grease management system.

Catering for over 5,000 staff working on 13 floors of the Canary Wharf building, the staff restaurant is extremely busy, producing a vast amount of food on a daily basis. Inevitably, this means that the kitchen has a large volume of food preparation waste to dispose of. As with any kitchen, the challenge lies in preventing the fats, oils and grease waste from entering the drainage system and sewers in order to minimise the risk of blockages and protect the environment, while also avoiding the associated fines and heavy clean up costs, should this happen.

With the kitchen being situated on the building’s eleventh floor, the company had been using a grease separator installed on the tenth floor prior to implementing the ACO solution. However, this previous grease separator presented the company with a huge number of problems. Firstly, maintenance was extremely time consuming and labour intensive, with personnel having to scrape out and clean the unit, then carry 2.5ft barrels of grease down to ground level to be collected by contractors. This also posed significant health and safety risks as the grease was ruining the carpet making it slippery and dangerous.

For the staff working in the offices, the worst problem was the strong smell that was left lingering by the grease separator. Phil Burns, Installer and Technical Manager at FCS Ductwork, recalls, “Even though the previous grease separator was emptied on weekends, the staff would come into the office complaining about how strong and dreadful the stench was on the following Monday morning.”

The previous grease separator also needed weekly monitoring to check when it was full up and typically needed to be emptied and maintained every two to four weeks. Ultimately, this level of work saw maintenance costs and time consumption escalate rapidly. Dissatisfied with this solution, the financial company decided to look for a new system and sought the help of a consultant. After looking at the company’s requirements, this consultant recommended ACO’s Hydrojet as an alternative to improve the situation considerably.

The ACO system was installed in place of the previous grease separator with a disposal pump going down to the loading bay for easy and convenient tanker waste collection at street level. The whole process is now automated, which has enabled considerable cost and time savings to be realised.

For example, when the ACO grease separator is due for emptying all that is required is for the contractor to connect the waste disposal pipe to the tanker, simply press a button on a remote control panel and all the fats, oils and grease waste is pumped into the vehicle for disposal.

The grease separator then cleans itself out after each emptying cycle. Collectively, the whole process now requires only 10 – 15 minutes as opposed to the hours of hard work that was previously required. Constructed from robust corrosion resistant HDPE, ACO’s Hydrojet has also eliminated the problems of smells and leakages. Furthermore, the innovative system is highly efficient, working on natural buoyancy processes to separate solids, fats, oils and grease from wastewater.

The separated water is then discharged into the sewer in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Ultimately, the kitchen is now running far more efficiently and giving staff a safer and more pleasant environment to work in.

Phil Burns, said: “The ACO grease separator was technically easy to install, requiring only a new pipe for draining the grease away and allowed us to use the original pipe for water drainage, preventing the risk of contamination and causing minimal disruption to the operation of the business. On a scale of one to ten on improvement, I’d put the project at a nine. We do a lot of work for this leading company and this is probably the most appreciated job.”

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