New Blog Post – Standards and Regulations

Standards Event at BSI

A big thank you to those who made it to BSI in Chiswick on the 14th March for our open meeting on Standards and Regulations in the water industry. For those who didn’t – you missed a great meeting. With attendees from across the water sector, we had a lively roundtable discussion on how we embed standards and regulations as the way the water sector does things. A presentation by Martin Padley, chair of the Water UK Standards Board, indicated that Water UK viewed standards and regulations in a positive light but recognised that more needed to be done. In the room there was a general feeling of a disconnect between the various parties that owned differing standards and regulations. The way that IGEM works in the gas sector was held as a ‘gold standard’ – can the water industry work towards a similar model?

One comment after the meeting was “One big takeaway we all had was that standards themselves aren’t holding us back—it’s the red tape around them that’s the real challenge. So, we’re all on board with getting the next generation involved to shake things up a bit!”

Actions that we took away at the end of the meeting were:

  • To put together a Risk Register approach to quantify the risks of not using standards and the benefits of using them.
  • To develop a briefing document (possibly as an IGN) that sets out the Standards landscape.
  • To put together a bid that could go to the OFWAT Innovation Fund setting out how standards can be an enabler for innovation.

There will be an (on-line) meeting of the Standards & Regulations Work Group on 13th May to progress these actions. If you are interested in participating, please register here.


The problem of FOG

The UK’s committee B/505/08, working with the water companies, have proposed to CEN that there is a need for a new standard for grease capture units which we believe are not covered by EN 1825 Grease Separators. This has now gone to a vote in the relevant committee (TC 165).

A bit of background to the proposal:

The grease management units proposed to be covered by this new standard are part of grease management systems used in smaller commercial kitchens to prevent fats oils and grease (FOG) in wastewater passing to the public sewer. FOG can also cause blockages to wastewater internal drainage systems within buildings, resulting in escapes of wastewater in the kitchen which are particularly problematic where food is prepared.

FOG is a particular problem in sewers where it can solidify and combine with flushed non-biodegradable solids, such as wet wipes to form ‘fatbergs’ which block the sewer capacity resulting in sewer overflows. Food Service Establishments (FSE) such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs are a prime source of FOG, which can pass into the sewer system during cleaning processes.

To reduce the amount of FOG passing to the sewer system, many FSEs are obliged to install grease traps or grease removal units. Because of the space available, these units will normally be installed under a sink, or close by, and thus inaccessible to large cleaning vehicles. They differ from traditional grease separators, covered by EN 1825, in that they will often have heaters to keep the FOG in a liquid phase, and their capacity for solids is less than the minimum required (100 litres) under EN 1825-1 and the pipework will be smaller than 100 mm.

The wheels of standards work turn very slowly so, even if the proposal is accepted, we can’t expect a new European standard very soon. I’ll keep you informed.


David Smoker

Standards & Regulations FWA


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