Thermaco Blog

How commercial kitchens can manage grease from rotisserie ovens

rotisserie chickens in ovenRotisserie chicken ovens have been steadily gaining popularity in commercial kitchens since 1985, when Boston Market first introduced them to the restaurant industry. Today, more than 750 million rotisserie chickens are sold every year in grocery stores, club stores and food-service outlets.

While the slow-cooked birds are a smart choice for retailers, the grease they generate can present a challenge for commercial kitchen owners and for municipal water treatment systems.

What options do kitchen operators have to ensure they still comply with municipal pretreatment and plumbing codes?

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10/18/16 6:30 AM

How grease interceptors can reduce greenhouse gases

earth from outer spaceCommercial kitchen operators already know the benefits of using grease interceptors to capture used oil and grease -- cleaner sewage systems, reduced costs for wastewater treatment plants and fewer fines from municipalities.

Plus, you can protect your facility's interior plumbing and make a little extra money selling used cooking oil to recyclers.

But did you know that by capturing all that grease you're also helping cut greenhouse gas emissions?

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10/11/16 6:30 AM

How a simple kitchen device protects waterways and sewer systems

Food in sinkWhen it comes to disposing of food waste, which works best for commercial kitchens and our waterways – garbage disposals or strainers?

At first glance, a garbage disposal might seem like the easiest choice – just flip a switch and the food is gone. No scraps to throw away. What could be simpler? Plus, you keep waste out of the landfill.

However, food scraps that enter the wastewater treatment system can cause problems with our municipal sewer systems. 

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10/4/16 6:30 AM

Why steel grease traps fail

Grease trapGrease interceptors have different weaknesses and points of failure depending on what they’re made of. Those materials affect how durable a particular grease trap is, and often affect how it’s designed. Design choices, in turn, also affect the reliability and durability of a grease trap.

If concrete and fiberglass have problems, it seems as though it might make sense to use something stronger to construct the grease interceptor. Something like steel. But steel grease traps come with their own problems, and often have very short lifespans compared to other options.

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9/27/16 6:30 AM

Why fiberglass grease traps fail

Since concrete has so problems with corrosion, a substance such as fiberglass, which doesn’t have those problems, might seem to be a better choice. While fiberglass doesn’t experience the corrosion problems that steel and concrete grease traps do, it has some other challenges.

Fiberglass' rigidity and the use of other materials for inlet and outlet connections can create problems.

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9/20/16 6:33 AM

Why concrete grease traps fail

Concrete Grease Trap CloggedGrease traps – at least most grease traps – don’t last forever. Understanding why some fail might help keep your current interceptor running efficiently. If you’re in the market for a new grease interceptor, understanding why they fail might help you make a smarter choice.

Today we take a look at why concrete grease traps fail.

Concrete grease traps are the oldest type of grease interceptor still in common use, but they have a number of inherent problems that lead to failure.

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9/13/16 1:32 PM

How fatty acids plus metallic ions create monsters in your wastewater system

Graphic - emulsion losses vary with interceptor designIf you read our post on how emulsions can lead to fats, oil and grease (FOG) escaping a grease interceptor, you know that some grease will inevitably get into the wastewater system.

While the amount of grease getting through each day doesn’t seem that large, it constitutes what many feel is the greatest threat to the world’s sewer systems. 

You might wonder why it would be a problem if the fats and oils have been emulsified — broken into tiny particles — through physical emulsion or, via soaps and detergents, chemical emulsion. And what that has to do with grease interceptor design.

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12/8/15 7:25 AM

How you can reduce emulsion, the invisible grease thief

Commercial Kitchen sink

Even if a commercial kitchen has an effective grease interceptor properly installed and maintained, fats, oils and grease (FOG) can still escape into the wastewater system.

While no grease removal system is 100 percent effective, a properly maintained, modern grease trap can still remove more than 99 percent of FOG found in kitchen effluent. One of the biggest obstacles to grease removal, though, is the invisible thief called emulsion.

Emulsion is a “fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.” So what does that mean in plain English? And what can you do about it?

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12/1/15 8:07 AM

Five tactics for tackling the Thanksgiving grease-apocalypse

Thanksgiving turkey being deep friedIt happens every year during the holidays: Home cooks rev up their ovens and deep fryers and in go millions of turkeys in preparation for Thanksgiving day feasts.

The following day, and sometimes even the same day, plumbers and sewer district workers get called out to deal with blockages, back-ups and overflows. It’s messy and expensive. And it’s all completely unnecessary. 

But, as someone who works in wastewater treatment, you knew that. 

The question is, how do you eliminate, or least reduce the impact of, the annual Thanksgiving grease-apocalypse. The goal, obviously, is to convince as many people as possible about the dangers of dumping turkey grease down the drain.

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11/10/15 7:57 AM

What your dipstick might not tell you about effective pretreatment

Historic photo of Seattle municipal water testing labMany local sewer ordinances require that food service establishments make their grease interceptors available for periodic inspection to ensure they’re working correctly, keeping fats, oil and grease (FOG) out of the wastewater system.

And the tool of choice for many pretreatment coordinators and other professionals is the dipstick (or popularly, the Sludge Judge, a specific brand of dipstick). It’s a long, clear plastic tube that enables anyone to quickly measure how much grease a grease interceptor has accumulated.

While dunking a dipstick into a grease interceptor may allow you to quickly determine whether or not it needs to be emptied, it doesn’t really tell you how well the interceptor is keeping grease out of the wastewater system. 

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10/27/15 8:41 AM