Grease Collection Company Controls Its Disposal Destiny

Liquid Environmental Solutions offers practical advice about starting up grease collection and disposal facilities

Grease Collection Company Controls Its Disposal Destiny

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It’s simple enough to explain why the founders of Liquid Environmental Solutions decided to focus on grease collection and disposal when they established the company in 2002: More and more municipalities want nothing to do with treating grease trap waste.

To fill that void, the company now owns 24 disposal facilities, five built by Liquid Environmental Solutions and the balance stemming from partnerships with municipalities or acquisitions of companies that already owned treatment facilities. “It all comes down to the fact that city treatment plants aren’t designed to handle things like grease,” says Dana King, senior vice-president of the Dallas-based company. “Our plants keep those materials out of treatment plants.”

Fighting illegal dumping

In some cases, Liquid Environmental Solutions partners with municipal water utilities to build treatment facilities for grease and other related waste materials. In El Paso, Texas, for example, a lack of treatment options was prompting scofflaws to illegally dump grease trap waste, he says.

“El Paso’s water utility was determined to come up with a solution, so we worked with them to put in a plant in El Paso,” he explains. “We don’t have any plants in California, Oregon, and Washington, but we have extensive relationships with public wastewater agencies that use waste to create energy for anaerobic digesters.”

While the treatment technologies may differ from plant to plant, they all ultimately rely on equipment and processes that physically separate various solids and other materials, then use a tricanter (three-phase) centrifuge that separates grease and water.

The company relies on centrifuge manufacturers Flottweg SE, Hiller Separation & Process, and Centrisys/CNP. In an average year, the company handles more than 400 million gallons of wastewater, most of it separated during treatment of grease trap waste, King says.

“In the case of a Dallas or a Houston, we have full-centrifuge capacity where we can get every stitch of brown grease out,” King notes. “But at our smaller plants, we can’t always justify a $500,000 or $600,00 centrifuge. So in those cases, the process could be as simple as a dewatering box. In the end, the volume dictates the type of technology we use.”

Liquid Environmental Solutions used dewatering boxes made by Spectrum Water Technology, Dragon Products, Adler Tank Rentals, BakerCorp, Mobile Mini Solutions and Consolidated Fabricators. “We do like the ‘W’ box design, where the center is raised so there are two chambers, which helps the dewatering process,” King says.         

Making the leap

The key consideration for smaller firms interested in doing their own grease processing is the volume required to pay for and maintain the facility. “When you build a treatment plant, it should be consistently receiving and processing waste to justify the substantial expenses, both capital and operating,” King notes. “But no matter what the scale, discharge costs for treated water can be a significant expense, too, and of course, noncompliance is simply not acceptable to government regulators nor, for that matter, to the reputation of our industry.”

As an added benefit, Liquid Environmental Solutions processing plants also accept and process grease and used cooking oil from other collection companies. “When a third-party hauler comes in, we treat them just like any other customer and take care of them,” King says. “It’s a significant part of our business in many markets.”



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