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Plymouth Plans State’s Second Grease Recycling Plant

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A sewage facility in the works in the town of Plymouth will give the state a new market for recycled cooking oils, fats and grease.

There's only one plant in New Hampshire that currently processes what's known as FOG, which comes from places like commercial kitchens. FOG can cause costly, unsanitary sewer overflows and gum up standard wastewater treatment systems.

The state’s existing FOG disposal facility is in Allenstown.

So Plymouth Village Water & Sewer District superintendent Jason Randall says communities farther north – in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine – badly need a closer place to take their fats and oils.

He says the new Plymouth plant's design will hinge on finding an end user for the grease – such as a biodiesel producer, or a cosmetics company that needs glycerin.

"Does this product need to be disposed of in a way that's going to cost the district money, or can we provide a product of quality enough that we can actually earn revenue from it?" Randall says.

He also hopes the plant will encourage commercial and residential water users to install grease traps or be more careful in preventing costly clogs.

"It's really an incentive for [towns] to do a good job at removing fats, oils and grease from their waste stream and separating it out,” Randall says.

He says FOG isn’t the only thing wastewater operators worry about. There’s also FROG, which includes rags – baby wipes, diapers, menstrual products and other products that can snarl pumps and collect grease.

The FOG plant wouldn’t treat those rags, but Randall says it’ll save towns money on transportation, which they can spend preventing a range of maintenance issues.

The project will cost about $800,000, paid for partly by a state loan – of which Randall says the state has promised to forgive up to 50 percent.

Construction on the plant is set to begin next year.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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