Earlier this year, specialists in water and wastewater management gathered in Amsterdam for the European FOG Summit 2020. The different ways that FOG pollution is tackled was a recurring theme during the two days of the event. Although it became clear that there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula, it is possible to see some consensus when it comes to managing this waste resource, and that legislation is an inconstant driver around the world.
Over the last few years, the increased use and disposal of fat, oil, and grease has put more pressure on an aging sewer system. FOG is increasingly causing daily disruptions to local businesses and the community as the sewer clogs; pipes break and harmful materials overflow into the streets and rivers.
At SwiftComply, we believe that education, regulation and innovation are key to keep sewers lines free from fatbergs.
Here in Europe, the term fatbergs or even FOG are simply not recognized in many countries: both words are terms that can’t be translated literally in most of the languages. For example, FOG is for the Dutch just ‘Vet’. And the French call Fatbergs ‘Tapis de Graisse’, while the Germans call them ‘Fettklumpen’. The vocabulary is fragmented, but the FOG-issue, as described above, remains the same in every country.
The European FOG Summit is initiated to connect wastewater experts from across the continent and to open discussions about the best approaches to tackle FOG.
Networking was not the only opportunity to engage during the summit, the audience could use their smartphones during sessions to connect with panelists, asking real-time questions and partaking in polls that extended and enhanced the topics in discussion.
There was even virtual participation: unable to travel due to the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Enda Collins, from Irish Water, joined the debate on perspectives to eradicate fatbergs with his colleagues without leaving his office in Ireland.
We were extremely fortunate to be able to bring together some of the leading experts in FOG from across North America and Europe just before the world went upside down.
The consequences of the current pandemic from a FOG management point of view are stark. As the demand for toilet paper has skyrocketed, it is more important than ever for communities to understand how to keep the sewer lines free from blockages.
The fight against fatbergs has only just begun.