What is the problem with using d-limonene or other degreasers in collection systems or lift stations to "get rid" of grease
As the most common cause of blockages and sanitary sewer overflows, grease (usually a combination of insoluble fatty acids) creates headaches for collection system operators. Grease from restaurants and households enters the sewer as fats or oils. With microbial activity, the grease is split into fatty acids which the longer chain forms are not readily soluble in water. The long chain fatty acids tend to deposit in areas of reduced flow velocity - in bends, larger pipes, or on lift-station walls.
It is this solid form of grease that must be removed by operators. In collection system grease control there are three main options:
The potential for a slug of solubilized or emulsified grease to hit the biological treatment unit is why I do not often recommend the use of solvents in collection systems. While in a few cases they are needed to remove heavy buildup, it should not be the first treatment option. If problem areas of a collection system are identified - steps can be taken to reduce maintenance costs and prevent SSOs. Most of the actions include the installation and maintenance of grease traps at restaurants and high density developments. If problems still exist, the use of a microbial dose with periodic physical monitoring/jetting often can keep the line free flowing and the lift-station clear.
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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