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FOG Pretreatment Ordinances

Compliance and protection

As commercial kitchens and restaurants go into more buildings with a wide variety of uses, compliance with wastewater regulations and protecting internal plumbing become bigger issues.

In many cases, commercial kitchens are retrofitted into facilities that weren't originally designed to accommodate them, creating design, installation and compliance challenges. Those kitchens may also create plumbing or sanitary sewer line problems in the future if grease interceptor devices are not properly used.

The Big Dipper is an innovative, automatic grease trap designed to reduce much of the hassle and expense associated with installing and maintaining a traditional grease trap. The system has been in use for more than two decades in thousands of locations, from mom-and-pop restaurants to island resorts with unusual sewage treatment facilities.

The Big Dipper offers a number of advantages over traditional passive traps, especially concrete traps.

Point source interception to protect plumbing

Once fats, oil and grease go down the drain — from a three-compartment sink or another source — they enter the building's wastewater lines. Compliance concerns are usually focused on what happens once those lines empty into the sanitary sewer system.

However, it's also important to consider the function of internal plumbing. Grease can accumulate in those internal wastewater lines just as it can in sewer lines, creating blockages that potentially lead to back-ups.

The Big Dipper is designed to intercept grease at the source. Big Dipper units are frequently installed beneath sinks or other effluent sources, where they can collect the waste grease before it travels more than a short distance. This helps protect internal plumbing and also reduces the load on passive grease traps and the sewer lines.

Simple, compact installation

One of the challenges of many smaller commercial kitchens, or kitchens that are retrofitted into pre-existing facilities, is grease trap placement. Contractors and plumbers may find themselves having to excavate externally to place a grease trap, or find a location in the building for a passive trap.

These other locations are not always feasible, or they present serious design or budget obstacles to a food service operator.

The Big Dipper can be placed on the floor or on an approved support frame kit, making it simple and inexpensive to install. This flexibility also allows kitchen designers more flexibility and ensures that engineers and other professionals have the options they need to ensure the facility complies with all building codes, plumbing rules and wastewater regulations.

Add-on grease trap capacity

Installing a new passive grease trap — especially a traditional concrete trap — can be expensive. Nonetheless, there are situations where increase food production volumes, additions to the menu or other changes can require additional grease trap capacity in a food service establishment.

The Big Dipper allows additional capacity to be added quickly and easily, with minimal hassle and time. This is because it can be plumbed directly to a source of grease, such as the sink where greasy dishes are washed, without significant structural changes to the facility.

This can help commercial kitchens quickly and easily stay in compliance (or return to compliance), without creating a major operational problem for the operator. This makes it more likely the food service establishment will quickly and voluntarily come into compliance, saving inspectors and code enforcement officials the headaches that come with habitual offenders.


Thermaco's innovative Big Dipper automative grease recovery devices have been used in a variety of situations where traditional concrete and steel grease traps failed and passed fats, oils and grease into the sewer collection system. Below are links to technical and compliance documents for the Big Dipper.  Please contact us if you have additional questions or would like to discuss a particular situation.