Last week, leaders from municipal waste water and water quality utilities joined the industry experts and equipment manufacturers that make specialized water treatment technologies in Chicago for the annual WEFTEC Conference. This event, which is sponsored by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), is the premier conference and technology expo for the organizations that treat waste water and ensure that clean water is available to constituents, as well as the companies that are innovating new and exciting technologies to make water quality better and water treatment more effective.

This year’s WEFTEC Conference came at a very interesting time in the waste water and water quality industry. The role of waste water utilities is shifting, new challenges are rising and these organizations are being asked to do more than ever before with fewer resources and budget dollars.

One of these new and emerging challenges is FOG. And, no, we’re not talking about the low-laying clouds that ruin visibility on morning commutes. Rather, we’re talking about a very particular kind of waste that is wrecking municipal waste water infrastructure and causing havoc for cities and towns around the globe.

One of the companies leading the charge against FOG is the amazingly named, Greasezilla. We had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Levine, the Executive Vice President of Greasezilla, during WEFTEC to talk all about the problems municipal governments are having with FOG, the new technologies entering the waste water and water treatment industries and how the Smart Water trend is transforming water quality.

Here is what he had to say:

Modern Equipment Manufacturer (MEM): What is FOG waste? Why is it such a big problem for municipal utilities today?

Brian Levine: Fats, oils and grease (FOG) is a byproduct of food preparation. FOG especially comes from cooking or preparing food with animal or vegetable products, such as vegetable oil, olive oil, dairy products, meat fats, butter, batters, dressings and sauces. This is especially prevalent from commercial kitchens and restaurants with large volumes that have to be regulated, maintained and picked up by pumpers/haulers.

FOG, when it is put down drains in excessive amounts, coats the inside of pipes and gradually builds up until it blocks the flow of wastewater – putting a massive strain on the wastewater treatment plants. Foul odors, property damage and even environmental harm are side effects of these blockages.

Greasezilla’s patented system addresses the growing problem of FOG waste by handling it on the front end, preventing build-up in municipal lines. The solution separates FOG into its basic elements, sending the water back to municipalities and recycling the brown grease into an organic and profitable biofuel.

MEM: Tell us a bit about Greasezilla. What products and solutions does the company offer? How does its solution help municipal water utilities battle FOG waste?

Brian Levine: Greasezilla is a leading global manufacturer of Grease2Green clean technology and advanced biofuel production. Greasezilla patented technology is a turnkey standalone system that can also be used for the optimization of anaerobic digester systems and biodiesel production. The demand for Greasezilla fuel is global, as it can be sold directly to end users as an organic substitute for fuel oil 5 and 6, or Bunker C.

Greasezilla solutions can be used for complete separation and provide an environmentally sound alternative to chemically treating, lagooning, landfilling, incineration or dumping FOG waste. By running entirely on the biofuel it harvests, Greasezilla eliminates fuel costs while using zero fossil fuels, making it the most cost-efficient and ecologically responsible brown grease separator available.

Greasezilla makes a product line of brown grease separators for permanent facilities and systems that can be moved and relocated. Greasezilla’s patented process creates an organic advanced biofuel offtake that is second to none and even garners a premium price on commodity exchanges.

Greasezilla systems can handle up to 40,000 gallons a day, which equates to 7.5 million gallons of FOG per year and beyond, as it is completely scalable. The system also provides a pristine offtake ideal for biodigesters and biodiesel producers.

“Greasezilla’s patented system addresses the growing problem of FOG waste by handling it on the front end, preventing build-up in municipal lines. The solution separates FOG into its basic elements, sending the water back to municipalities and recycling the brown grease into an organic and profitable biofuel.” – Brian Levine

The EPA has mandated that wastewater treatment centers must pretreat FOG before allowing it into wastewater treatment facilities. Greasezilla is the most ecological and effective pre-treatment system that is not only instrumental in protecting our infrastructure, but also plays a role in assisting and safeguarding wastewater treatment facilities infrastructure.

MEM: I’ve heard Greasezilla talk about its solution being powered by the biofuel that it creates. Why is this important to municipal water utilities today? Why is power consumption such a challenge in the industry right now?

Brian Levine: Power consumption presents enormous challenges to water utilities, particularly due to the growing demand from all sectors with today’s limited energy resources. The EPA outlined specific benefits of reduced energy consumption in wastewater treatment plants that include reduced GHG emissions and air pollution, longer equipment lifecycles and better public health.

Greasezilla’s uniqueness in burning its own fuel and having no land application or disposal really sets the technology apart. Greasezilla is powered by the same clean, advanced biofuel it creates, with only minor electrical requirements. This attribute is extremely well received by our clients who are leaders in integrating clean technology into their sites.

The total operating expense of our system is less than $50,000 per year and energy costs are less than $3000. Energy costs also vary across countries, so the savings can be significant.

Our customers range from municipalities to large commercial operations. Recently Greasezilla was selected as an integral part of a new state-of-the-art FOG-to-Biodiesel receiving station for the Danbury, Connecticut Waste Water Treatment facility. Greasezilla’s patented solution separates FOG into its basic elements, sending the water back to the treatment center headworks and recovering highly profitable brown grease as an Advanced Biofuel. This end-to-end process is the most ecologically advanced system available.

MEM: We recently talked with Barry Liner at WEF, who talked about wastewater and water quality equipment becoming smarter. What is Greasezilla doing to embrace this Smart Water trend? Barry also talked about cloud enabling these devices to make them more connected. Is this a trend that Greasezilla has embraced or plans to embrace?

Brian Levine: The water sector is rapidly adopting automated solutions that collect data and provide actionable insight that help wastewater plants optimize their systems. These same technologies have afforded Greasezilla the capability of monitoring systems remotely and increasingly improve the efficiency of the system, permitting larger capacity operations and output.

Smart devices are permitting our clients ease of access, reporting and oversight, which only a few short years ago were manual processes. Greasezilla is a turnkey standalone system that can interface with headworks, fuel storage systems and anaerobic digesters.