Reader forum

Cooking oil controversyI am writing regarding the ReaderForum submission, "Consider the codes" (PE, January 2001, p 7).In the part about using cooking oil to stop evaporation of water in traps, the letter's author makes a fundamental logic error in interpreting the plumbing code. I do not have a copy of that code so I am assuming that he quoted all relevant sections accurately in making his de...


Cooking oil controversy

I am writing regarding the Reader Forum submission, "Consider the codes" ( PE , January 2001, p 7).

In the part about using cooking oil to stop evaporation of water in traps, the letter's author makes a fundamental logic error in interpreting the plumbing code. I do not have a copy of that code so I am assuming that he quoted all relevant sections accurately in making his determination that using cooking oil in a drainage trap is a code violation.

While it is obvious that cooking oil is insoluble, that does not automatically disqualify its use. As stated in Sec. 302.1: "...oil...or other insoluble material capable of obstructing, damaging, or overloading the building drainage or sewer system, or capable of interfering with the normal operation of the sewage treatment process, shall not be deposited, by any means, into the system."

I fail to see how cooking oil meets this second qualification. It will not cause any problems with plumbing, and every sewage treatment plant uses skimmers to remove oils as a normal part of the process. Any small amount of oil that might be released to a treatment plant would be dwarfed by the amount of oils and grease released every time someone washes his or her pots and pans.

I have also seen ads for flushless urinals in which an insoluble liquid with a deodorant is used to float on top of water soluble liquids to keep them from evaporating and fouling the room air. I doubt that these could be offered for sale if they were in violation of the plumbing code. — Robert Klein, Electrical/Misc. Engineer, Vulcan, Inc.

By whose authority?

In regard to your Editorial, "By whose authority?" ( PE , November 2000, p 14), the new concept may have its place, but not in my plant.

The people with authority today usually don't have the qualifications or experience to make a yes-or-no decision about my work responsibilities.

That's why my plant's operations are declining from the infrastructure to the production goals.

I have been the key person making these decisions for 15 yr, along with other engineers in their respective areas. Now for the last 5 yr, this situation has changed along with the plant's profitability.

We must return to qualified and experienced people who have responsibility and authority to carry out the projects that must be done in order to bring business back to the way it used to be. — Name withheld by request

Upcoming events

Facility Forum , the "Total Facility Management Event," is the most comprehensive conference and exhibition designed exclusively for the diverse needs of facility professionals. April 22%%MDASSML%%25, 2001, Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX. For information, visit or call 800-524-0337 ext. 225 or e-mail

Powder & Bulk Solids Conference/Exposition: The global center for dry processing and bulk material handling. Conference: May 7-11, 2001; exhibition: May 8-10, 2001; Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL. The show is free to all who register by April 13. Conference fees vary. For information, visit or call 800-354-4003.

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