Restaurants especially busy quick serve and fast casual work diligently to clean and disinfect all surfaces in the store. Even with cleaning and attention to detail, there are often rancid odors in certain areas and "fruit flies" (actually drain flies) that seem to appear out of nowhere. Couple this with the occasional emergency plumber call out for grease clogged floor drains and we have a significant problem for restaurant managers.
I was called in 20 years ago by a chicken QSR to develop a product to treat their grease trap. They faced high pumping costs yet still needed to pump out the traps every two weeks for control of odors and grease discharges to city lines. While walking through numerous locations before opening hours, I noticed the odors and discovered they often had two plumber call outs per month for clogged floor drains. This led to a new microbial/enzyme application that had the potential to solve multiple problems.
For the initial restaurant trials we used two products with some stores using a metering pump that applied a liquid microbial product upstream of the grease trap and the others using a dry microbial product that required mixing and pouring down the floor drains. While the dry microbial product was inconvenient, the stores using this product reduced plumber call out by 60% and noted fewer drain flies. This made my team wonder if we could crated an entirely new product that was easier to use than the dry and could treat floor drains where the drain flies could breed on residual wastes that collected using normal floor cleaners.
The result of a few changes in the formulations was a new product for use in mopping/cleaning floors. At the end of the night, employees switched from using surfactant cleaners and bleach to a new biodegradable surfactant/microbe/enzyme blend. The residual cleaning solution in the mop bucket was dumped in to the floor drains after cleaning.
A quick side note, even through we often try to "Kill 99.9% germs", microbes are vital for the environment and necessary for our digestive process. The microbes found in the product are beneficial organisms found throughout the environment and are important waste degrading bacteria. They are similar in effect to the probiotic cultures taken by millions of users every day.
The product was simple in formulation yet very effective. The surfactants and enzymes provided for immediate clean with the enzymes helping to deep clean the tiles and grout. In the drain lines, the microbes in the product began to grow and degrade residual organics removed in the cleaning. When used nightly, the results were remarkable:
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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