Wastewater Pretreatment Businesses

JEA appreciates how some Jacksonville companies work hard to make their wastewater more earth-friendly.

Metro-Rooter Helps Fuel Sustainability

Tom McLaughlin isn’t your average plumber. Metro-Rooter, the company he founded in 1978, now employs 60 people. It does all the things you’d expect a plumbing company to do plus it cleans out grease traps at restaurants and sells the grease to be turned into biofuel.

Metro-Rooter"We collect about 275,000 gallons of grease a month from restaurants," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin puts the grease trap waste through an industrial pretreatment system at his headquarters to first remove debris and separate the grease from the wastewater. The grease is collected in a holding tank and eventually sold as a commodity called brown grease.

He also partners with JEA to collect residential used cooking oil at area fire stations. The oil is sold as a commodity called yellow grease that is turned into biofuel.Every drop of grease sold for biofuel is one less drop that could otherwise go into JEA’s water/wastewater system where it can clog pipes, cause sanitary sewer overflows and foul the wastewater treatment process

McLaughlin, who holds advanced wastewater and water treatment licenses from the State of Florida, has been perfecting his grease trap-to-biofuel business for years.

"I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out," he said, with a chuckle. And now that he has both he and JEA are pleased with the results.

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