How EcoSocks Reduce Grease and Fat Accumulation in Traps and Sumps
Commonly available grease trap additives (for reducing accumulated grease and fat) fall into three main classes:
- Chemical additives
- Bacterial additives
Chemical additives function by emulsifying the grease. Examples include surfactants, detergents, and slugs of high PH caustic addition. This class of treatment method has a significant drawback. Grease solubilised with this method tends to re-solidify further downstream. When the grease and fat is emulsified, rather than chemically broken down, and when the concentration of the emulsifying agent is reduced, the grease will re-solidify. This is of course highly undesirable, and in fact the use of emulsifiers or degreasers in grease traps is often prohibited.
Enzymes have proven successful at truly solubilizing grease and fat accumulations. Some studies have shown excellent results with combinations of isolated purified, combinations of lipase, protease, amylase, and cellulose. As for the fat molecule, it is well known that lipase hydrolyzes the insoluble fat molecule into two soluble components; glycerol and fatty acids.
However, there are two problems in relying on enzyme additives for success in grease traps. First, it has proven prohibitively expensive to isolate and stabilize enzymes of the necessary functional diversity and activities to be effective in grease traps. For example, all enzymes are proteins, and protease is present in cell-free extract. This means that in a liquid suspension, the protease will soon attack and destroy the various enzymes in the solution, giving the product a very short shelf life. Alternatively, producing the enzymes in large quantities with the right mix of functionality and then drying them so that they can become reactivated has been shown to be uneconomical in most situations. The bottom line is that while enzymes can certainly be effective, they are also quite costly to use in sufficiently potent form.
The second problem is that by using enzyme additives alone, rapid solubilization occurs while no attention is given to the solubilized by-products. This means that there is the potential for increase in COD in the grease trap effluent. In other words, if you choose to use enzymes alone for grease trap treatment, not only will you bear a high cost, but you risk an increase in the discharge COD from the trap. Using enzymes alone may be marginally better than using chemical degreasing or emulsifying agents, but it is still not an optimal solution.
The third alternative, use of bacterial additives, is generally not sufficiently effective. The main problem is that in typical applications, the bacterial solutions are too expensive when used at the required doses.
The real issue is that one must use a combination of enzymes AND bacteria to accomplish cost-effective reduction in traps or sumps without an elevated COD. The enzyme activity is needed to truly break down fats and greases (rather than simply emulsify them), and an increased bacterial load is needed to consume the solubilized product that the enzymes create.
With this firmly stated, it is easy to see why the EcoSock is the preferred solution for grease traps. The EcoSock is a self-contained bioreactor! It literally breeds huge numbers of bacteria – and the enzymes needed to digest grease and fat. The EcoSock is specially equipped with a patent-pending slow release oxygen source. Together with the nutrients and specialized bacteria contained in the EcoSock, the oxygen activity promotes the growth of bacteria and production of enzymes for a full month before the EcoSock is depleted. And the production is constant! The EcoSock is continuously producing and releasing COD consuming bacteria and grease/fat digesting enzymes. The EcoSock works in flow through systems particularly well. Whereas other product will pass through (and not have sufficient residence time in the trap), EcoSock generates a continuous supply of bacteria and enzymes. This unique solution gives the EcoSock its great advantage.
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