Six floors under: ACO designs The Londoner’s unique underground grease separator

At the deepest underground point in London, ACO Building Drainage, the global specialist in building drainage solutions, is keeping The Londoner hotel’s kitchens ticking over through its uniquely designed grease separator.

Opened to the public in 2021, The Londoner is the world’s first super boutique hotel located on Leicester Square. Part of The Edwardian Hotel Group, across its 16 stories it features 350 rooms and suites, three beautiful guest-only spaces at The Residence, an urban wellness retreat, six restaurants and bars, two screening rooms, event spaces and a stunning ballroom for up to 850 guests.

A key component that keeps the hotel running like clockwork is its state-of-the-art grease separator. Installed six floors below ground level, ACO’s bespoke-engineered LipuJet P-RAP NS 15 system ensures that fats, oils and grease (FOG) produced from The Londoner’s 1,500 meals a day are managed and separated from wastewater.

A critical challenge of the project was the need to locate the large separator six floors below ground level. This was overcome by supplying ACO’s Lipujet system in sections, which was then assembled on-site once the parts were in place.

The grease separator has a capacity of 4,000 litres and is capable of dealing with approximately 15 litres of wastewater per second. Once a month, the whole separator is emptied, and the wastewater (including the separated FOG and food particles) are pumped up to ground level using a twin pump arrangement for disposal. The emptying process is completed by a fully automatic cleaning program, using a high-pressure water jet to clean the inside of the cylindrical tank. Once cleaned, the tank is refilled with potable water.

Grease management is a highly topical and important issue, with London’s sewers regularly under threat from FOG and ‘unflushables’ like wet wipes leading to so-called ‘fatbergs’.

Erik Mul, Technical Product Manager at ACO Building Drainage, said: “When we were approached by the architects for The Londoner, we knew that it would be a challenging project. This was especially the case given the unique circumstances where the grease separator needed to be located so far under ground level.

“By using our free-standing Lipujet grease separator, along with our twin pump disposal arrangement, we’ve designed a system that helps the hotel stay compliant with the law. Importantly, it prevents FOG from entering London’s sewers that can end up clogging the system as ‘fatbergs’ and is easy to service and maintain.”

Chris Ball, Maintenance Manager at The Londoner, said: “Erik and the team at ACO have come up with a solution that perfectly meets the needs of our busy and bustling hotel. The separator keeps our kitchens running effectively, and with it only needing emptying once a month, is low maintenance and cost effective as well.”

To ensure the Lipujet could cope with The Londoner’s demand, ACO’s in-house technical team modified the ACO LipuJet unit by adding twin high capacity disposal pumps, mounted in series. ACO’s design team also recommended shortening the pipework to ensure the FOG could be pumped up the six storeys effectively. Certified to BS EN 1825, ACO LipuJet separators are manufactured from high density polyethylene for maximum durability and are highly resistant against the aggressive nature of kitchen wastewater.

The build-up of FOG in drainage systems is a growing problem for commercial kitchens and the UK’s wider sewage network system. To help restaurant owners and kitchen managers understand how to manage FOG effectively, ACO has created a series of grease management guides, which can be downloaded here




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