Reading, PA September 7, 2010
Jed Hammel, Ehrlich Bioremediation Manager, is watching the Gulf clean-up efforts like everyone else. He wants to know that our shoreline will be restored to its natural beauty like everyone else and that Gulf fishermen will be able to resume working.
Jed is especially interested in one of the methods currently being used to help clean up the spill. Known as bioremediation, this approach is unique in that it actually converts the oil into naturally occurring materials. Jed and his colleagues have been promoting bioremediation for years on a much smaller scale to help keep commercial kitchens eliminate fats, oils and grease.
Bioremediation involves introducing microbes (good bacteria) into an oil source. The type of microbe used is based on the type of oil. While the microbes being used in the Gulf actually consume and break down the oil, the microbes used in Ehrlich’s bioremediation service actually convert the grease into harmless carbon dioxide and water that can literally be flushed away.
Bioremediation is useful to restaurants and commercial kitchens because it helps them eliminate the fats, oils and grease remaining from cooking. These materials often accumulate in drain lines which must be snaked or jetted periodically to keep them clear. A complete backup can shut the kitchen down completely.
Bioremediation offers numerous advantages to the food service industry. From the kitchen manager’s viewpoint, bioremediation prevents backups and reduces the frequency of costly pumping. “Some kitchen managers wait for a clog and then deal with it, but it’s a huge inconvenience to close your kitchen for a day,” said Hammel. “Bioremediation works continuously to help food service establishments reduce grease interceptor pumping from a monthly job to one that only needs to be done two to three times a year.”
The fact that bioremediation is a green process is also very appealing. “Instead of flushing chemicals down the system, we are introducing a natural product that goes right to the root of the problem,” explained Hammel. “Our bioremediation process actually changes the grease into harmless carbon dioxide and water that are flushed away.”
Hammel says that this is a huge advantage over traditional drain clearing products like enzymes. “Enzymes chemically melt the fat, which is ok at the start. The problem is that the fat simply recoagulates further down the line. You never truly eliminate the problem – you just relocate it.”
During Ehrlich’s service (which is often performed at the same time as the pest control service) the technician adds freeze-dried bacteria to all floor/service drains, and replenishes a special calibrated injection pump that injects the bacteria into the drain lines. The Ehrlich Technician will also treat the outdoor grease interceptor.
From Hammel’s perspective, the biggest reward is that kitchen managers can focus on more important things like customers and food quality. “Our goal is to completely maintain the system and get restaurants out of frequent pumping.”
Ehrlich is part of Rentokil, the world’s largest commercial pest control company. Rentokil operates in 46 countries worldwide and is the leading player in many of these markets. Rentokil North America Pest Control currently employs 1,900 coworkers in 72 district offices and provides service in 33 states throughout the Mid Atlantic, South, Midwest, Southeast, Plains and Mountain states as well as Ontario Province, Canada. The company provides commercial and residential pest control, bioremediation, bird control, vegetation management, deer repellent services and termite control. Ehrlich and Presto-X are part of the Rentokil family of brands in North America.