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Drain dos and don'ts

As the catering industry has developed, so too has the need to keep surfaces and floors clean to acceptable levels of hygiene. The development of complex cooking oils and bread spreads has necessitated the formulation of chemicals capable of removing their residues from working surfaces, floors and waste conveyance systems.

In the popular obsession to sanitize and kill all bacteria, the majority of kitchen staff use harsh chemicals with increasing frequency in the misguided belief that they are keeping surfaces clean and maintaining their environment in a healthy state.

Fast facts
  • 99.9% of bacteria are essential to the healthy existence of man
  • Chemicals only move a visible dirt problem to another invisible location


Harsh chemicals damage drains

The following three commonly used products are hazardous toxic substances. It is an offence to let them into municipal sewers (bylaw PN466/2000 in Cape Town, but most cities have a similar regulatory document. Ask your local Public Health Department). They are not permitted in food preparation areas, or to be used by untrained, unprotected staff.

  1. Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) – principal ingredient in most granular drain and floor cleaners

    Although effective at removing fatty deposits, caustic soda destroys benign bacteria. These harmless microbes are necessary for the degradation of fats, oils and greases (FOG) in drains and help prevent fatty build-ups and odour. In fact, caustic soda reacts thermally when mixed with water, generating considerable heat and saponifies FOG allowing it to be washed down drain pipes where it catches and clogs. Why? As the reaction ceases, the fats 'drop out' of suspension as a coagulant and lodge (out of sight) in an often inaccessible place – usually on a joint. The dosing point might be pristinely clean but the drain will block shortly because of the down-line deposit. Also, the heat damages plastic pipes and can lead to serious leakages.

  2. Sulphuric acid (H2SO4) – principal ingredient in 'heavy', liquid cleaning fluids

    Sulphuric acid is a strong mineral acid that can actually create foul-smelling sewer gasses: hydrogen sulphide (H2S), when dissolved in water. It destroys benign bacteria and corrodes pipes and fittings. It attacks concrete, masonry and metal structures causing pitting. This provides a foothold for fat, grease and slimy deposits – the formation of which leads ultimately to structural damage.

  3. Bleach
    Bleach is a strong 'kill all' biocide that destroys benign bacteria a long way down the line. Bleach is often responsible for causing blockages, which result in offensive odours.

Ultimately, by destroying the natural drain 'flora', these chemicals are responsible for fatty build-ups and blockages down-line. Fat and slimes start to rot, generating foul odours. Adding more chemicals exacerbates the problem and the ongoing chemical cost is totally unnecessary.

The BIO-SYSTEMS solution

Using our microbial blends in conjunction with BIO-SYSTEMS Hard Surface Degreaser (HSDG) you will be free of blockages and odour in accord with municipal bylaws. What's more, your costs could be less than the table price of a cup of coffee per day! And that includes your kitchen and service passage, waste room and yard floors – all fat free and non-slip.

  1. FogFree (FF)

    FogFree is a complex microbial powder blend that degrades FOG in kitchen traps. For mixed meat, fish and most other catering effluent, FogFree is the answer. Just one 25g soluble sachet per week will maintain the average busy restaurant or supermarket trap, as well as outfall drain lines in good working order. The dosage must be increased proportionately under heavy (peak season) loads.

  2. Drain Flow 60 (DF60)
  3. Hard Surface Degreaser (HSDG)


Click on the BIO-SYSTEMS Product table for a complete list of products.

Soakaway drain clogged with FOG  Soakaway drain clogged with FOG


  Soakaway drain after DF60  Soakaway drain after DF60

Go to Effluent streams, Grease traps and interceptors, Oil spills, Odour prevention and Industrial catering effluent for more on the industrial effluent disposal system.

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