Navigation Links
Researchers find fat turns into soap in sewers, contributes to overflows
Date:4/21/2011

Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered how fat, oil and grease (FOG) can create hardened deposits in sewer lines: it turns into soap! The hardened deposits, which can look like stalactites, contribute to sewer overflows.

"We found that FOG deposits in sewage collection systems are created by chemical reactions that turn the fatty acids from FOG into, basically, a huge lump of soap," says Dr. Joel Ducoste, a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. Collection systems are the pipes and pumping stations that carry wastewater from homes and businesses to sewage-treatment facilities.

These hardened FOG deposits reduce the flow of wastewater in the pipes, contributing to sewer overflows which can cause environmental and public-health problems and lead to costly fines and repairs.

The research team used a technique called Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to determine what the FOG deposits were made of at the molecular level. FTIR spectroscopy shoots a sample material with infrared light at various wavelengths. Different molecular bonds vibrate in response to different wavelengths. By measuring which infrared wavelengths created vibrations in their FOG samples, researchers were able to determine each sample's molecular composition.

Using this technique, researchers confirmed that the hardened deposits were made of calcium-based fatty acid salts or soap.

"FOG itself cannot create these deposits," Ducoste says. "The FOG must first be broken down into its constituent parts: glycerol and free fatty acids. These free fatty acids specifically, saturated fatty acids can react with calcium in the sewage collection system to form the hardened deposits.

"Until this point we did not know how these deposits were forming it was just a hypothesis," Ducoste says. "Now we know what's going on with these really hard deposits."

The researchers are now focused on determining where the calcium in the collection system is coming from, and how quickly these deposits actually form. Once they've resolved those questions, Ducoste says, they will be able to create numerical models to predict where a sewage system may have "hot spots" that are particularly susceptible to these blockages.

Ultimately, Ducoste says, "if we know how and how quickly these deposits form, it may provide scientific data to support policy decisions related to preventing sewer overflows."


'/>"/>

Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
3. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
4. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
9. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
10. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the ... their offering. The report forecasts the global military biometrics ... The report has been prepared based on an in-depth ... landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, ... by combining the material with Silly Putty. The mixture ... detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, respiration, ... The research team,s findings were ... here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , December 7, 2016 BioCatch , the ... of its patent portfolio, which grew to over 40 granted and pending ... , , ... filed patent entitled " System, Device, and Method Estimating Force ... enables device makers to forego costly hardware components needed to estimate the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... PUNE, India , Jan. 19, 2017  Market Research Future ... The Global Market for Liquid Biopsy is growing rapidly and expected ... period. Market Highlights ... The Global Liquid Biopsy Market has been assessed as ... high growth figures and boom in the coming future. There has ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan 19, 2017 Research and Markets ... has announced the addition of the ... Application - Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The report provides a detailed analysis on current and future ... till 2025, using estimated market values as the base numbers ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... and GAITHERSBURG, Md. ... MKT: PIP) and Altimmune, Inc., a privately-held immunotherapeutics ... of a definitive agreement for the merger of ... current investors include Novartis Venture Fund, HealthCap, Truffle ... be a fully-integrated and diversified immunotherapeutics company with ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... The American Medical Informatics ... its Data Sharing Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading informatics experts, said data sharing ... existing policy. AMIA recommended that NIH earmark funding for researchers to produce and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: