Mauds waste issues are not a national concern
The water industry has sought to put artisan producers’ minds at rest in Great Britain after one Northern Ireland ice cream business had to spend a six-figure sum on managing its liquid wastage.
Mauds, of Carrickfergus, complained to FFD it was forced to put expansion on hold after trade effluent officers instructed it to separate the fats, oils and greases (FOGs) on the production floor at huge expense.
But Water UK has said that there is no legislation, either current or forthcoming, that would require businesses to spend any more than £2,000-£3,000 on grease traps.
David Wilson, director of Mauds, said the resulting water treatment plant it bought cost more than £125,000, which would take 38 years to repay, postponing a new company building by “maybe a year or two”.
Wilson suggested businesses in England, Scotland and Wales should beware in case they, too, had to invest in a prohibitively expensive facility because of what he believed was stricter enforcement of existing legislation.
UK legislation on fats, oils and grease are covered by different elements of the Water Industry Act 1991, Environmental Protection Act 1990, Building Act 1984 and the Food Safety Act 1990 and their subsequent amendments.
Water UK said there was no legislation forcing anyone to install specific devices to combat FOGs.
However, water companies have the right to take legal action against businesses if they are proven to be repeatedly clogging the system – usually avoided by “good practice”, which Water UK said need not necessarily cost much.
FFD asked Northern Ireland Water why it had apparently cracked down so hard on Mauds.
‘‘In relation to this specific case, NI Water has had discussions relating to compliance with the limits of trade effluent consent to discharge to the sewerage system,” said a spokesperson.
“The customer opted to install a pre-treatment plant for the purpose of bringing discharge to compliant levels, as the existing grease trap was inadequate to meet the terms of consent.”
They added that NI Water had a duty under the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 to control the discharge of trade effluent. “NI Water follows the same procedures of control and enforcement with all customers, therefore it is not the case to say that NI Water has ‘toughened’ its stance on this matter.”