8 Ways Oil Spills Can Affect The Food Production Facility

It doesn’t matter if you are cleaning out farm equipment, transporting edible oil, cooking meat, or making food packaging – there is one problem that plagues all segments of the huge food and beverage industry: fat, oils, and grease (FOG).

Lack of effective oil separation methods can cost food and beverage companies increased costs for water treatment, discharge, maintenance, compliance, and other issues.

As the owner of an industrial facility, you need to ask a few critical questions regarding its operations, like:

  • Do fats, oils, and grease get in the water or wastewater of your application? 
  • Are you aware there are oil removal options?

If you’re unsure about the above questions, we’re here to help. Here are eight ways to reduce your FOG costs and increase profits. 

Take a look. 

Farm Machinery Can Leak Oil

Farmers use large machinery such as tractors, planters, and seeders to plant and harvest crops. The problem is that hydraulic equipment and lubricants used to operate these machines can leak oil, resulting in water contamination.

Oil Removal Process

The edible oils that are used to make food or as ingredients in cooking are obtained from plants by one of the following methods:

  • Cold-pressed: A temperature-controlled, mechanically and chemical-free process.
  • Expeller-pressed: This is a mechanical, chemical-free method that’s used to make harder nuts and seeds. It creates more heat by using more pressure.
  • Distillation: The material is first dissolved in a solvent such as hexane. After that, the solvent evaporates during a distillation process leaving only the oil.

Oil coats equipment in each of these steps and can leak or spill, eventually contaminating the water supply.

During Oil Transportation

Tank trucks transport edible oils to packaging companies or facilities that use the oil for their products and processes. Trucks can be prone to oil spillage and leakage when oil is transferred. 

This makes two areas more vulnerable: truck wash bays and delivery areas. When it rains, the delivery areas and tank trucks are washed out. This leads to oil and water flow into a sump pit or collection pit.

The Oil Used For Cooking or as an Ingredient

Many packaged food companies use oil for cooking, frying, and as an ingredient. Oil is routinely used to coat machinery and equipment in each instance. 

Regular washing is necessary to meet the requirements for clean facilities. Washing oily surfaces can cause oil and water to combine, which eventually leads to the need for further treatment before wastewater discharge. ADsorb-it® oil cleaners can help in this regard. 

Oil, Fat, and Grease from Meat and Fish

FOG byproducts are a natural part of meat and fish processing. After processing, slaughter, and cooking, any residual animal fats and natural oils are emitted into the water supply. 

Oil From Manufacturing Containers

Food processing is susceptible to FOG issues, so can packaging. Each packaging option, including paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass, involves equipment that can leak hydraulic oils and lubrication into the wastewater. 

This must be removed before it is released into the environment.

Canning Foods and Beverages

A can seamer seals the lid onto the can body at beverage canning plants. To ensure that the seam remains intact and prevents corrosion, the seamer needs to be oiled regularly. 

Seamer oil can seep from the machine during the canning process and end up in the facility’s wastewater stream.

Foods for Consumption

Restaurants, cafeterias, and mess halls at military bases are the final FOG sources for food and beverage production. These facilities produce and use a lot of FOG when cooking and preparing meals. The grease trap collects grease, oil, and fat from the kitchen.

Final Word

Now that you know various ways oil can get spilled in water in your facility, prepare a plan to curb this problem. 

What oil issues are you currently facing in your facility? Let us know in the comments!


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