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Replacing a grease trap? Here's a few factors to consider

Big Dipper grease interceptor

Replacing a hydromechanical grease interceptor, also referred to as a grease trap, can be smelly, expensive and unpleasant. But if you operate a food service establishment and need a new one, you don’t have much choice.

In nearly all jurisdictions, commercial kitchens are required to have a grease interceptor to keep fats, oil and grease out of the sewer system. Coagulated grease is responsible for thousands — perhaps millions — of sewer blockages around the world, are expensive to clear and make sewer systems more costly to operate.

Your existing grease trap may have corroded or degraded so much that it no longer works.

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Understanding your plumbing inspector's view

Beakers of clean and dirty waterDon’t accuse a plumbing inspector (PI) of blindly following a bloated set of bureaucratic rules for no good reason. Yes, a plumbing inspector’s job is to enforce the plumbing code. Yes, a plumbing inspector will likely be suspicious of anything that deviates from that code.

But plumbing inspectors have good reasons for following the plumbing code (and so do you). In fact, good plumbing inspectors can help you, your business and your community by preventing long-term problems. Here's how they approach the job.

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Big Dipper digital control optimized for rotisserie ovens

Rotisserie chickenCommercial rotisserie ovens, which are popping up in more grocery stores as well as some restaurants and institutional settings, bring with them some unusual challenges when it comes to managing grease. Seasonal fluctuations in demand for rotisserie-cooked poultry pose some unusual challenges for grease removal, which a new Big Dipper feature resolves. 

(Photo courtesy of Steve Parker / Creative Commons on Flickr)

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Expert viewpoint: From treating waste to harnessing resources

Bob Rubin - wastewater treatment expertDr. A. Robert “Bob" Rubin is an emeritus professor and former extension specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University. He spent more than a quarter century there doing research, teaching and public service. He’s testified before Congress, spoken to international meetings of researchers and policy experts and been honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his service. He was kind enough to talk to us about the changes he’s seen in the last 30-plus years in wastewater treatment and what he expects in the coming years.

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New Big Dipper Digital Control Increases Life, Improves User Experience

Big Dipper Push Button InterfaceIn the three decades since Thermaco developed the innovative Big Dipper grease interceptor, more than 33,000 units have been installed in commercial kitchens around the world. 

Thermaco is also focused on continuing to innovate, and we’re proud to announce the new and improved 40000 Series Big Dipper with digital control. We know a food service establisment's priorities for a grease interceptor are simple: efficient operation, minimal maintenance, and compliance.

The 40000 Series Big Dipper with a new digital control unit is designed to help accomplish all those goals.

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Six ways your commercial kitchen might be out of compliance

Chef and Waiter discussing menu

You always score a solid "A" during health department inspections.

You make sure your fire extinguishers and other safety gear is regularly inspected.

And if something goes wrong with a piece of equipment, you immediately call a service technician and get it fixed.

While you may think you’re doing everything you could, and everything you should, to keep your commercial kitchen in compliance with government regulations, there are still a few surprises that could trip you up.

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How to size a grease trap for a commercial kitchen

Kitchen Drain CloseupWhether it’s a small, neighborhood pizza place or a large, institutional cafeteria that runs 24/7, installing the correctly sized grease trap is critical.

Install a unit that’s too small, and you risk overflows and messy back-ups in the kitchen. Install a unit (or units) that are too large, though, and you’ll end up with a different kind of waste – money flushed down the drain.

However, the methods used in many plumbing codes to estimate grease trap size requirements tend to overestimate peak flow, and therefore can overestimate the unit capacity needed. 

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Welcome to the New Thermaco Website

Image of New Thermaco HomepageWhy we redesigned the Thermaco website

We built Thermaco on innovation — the idea that we could figure out a way to manage fats, oil and grease from commercial kitchens better than the industry had before. 

So when we decided this year that it was time to give our website a facelift, we took the same innovation-first approach. Though we wanted to update the look and feel of the site, we also wanted the site to be a better resource for customers and others seeking information.

To that end, the new site has several changes:

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Increases in Eating Out Put More Pressure on Pretreatment

Sandwich and friesChanging demographics and lifestyles are producing greater strains on water treatment systems and could threaten water quality. Surprised? It’s true. And we’re not just talking about the strain of a growing population.
 
Since the 1970s, the amount of food consumed at restaurants or purchased from take-out spots has increased dramatically. And with that, comes more commercial kitchen wastewater entering the sewers.
 
2006 USDA study, for example, found that from the 1970s to the 1990s, the percent of daily calories from meals purchased away from home increased from 18 percent to 32 percent. And from 1974 to 2004, away-from-home spending grew from 34 percent of total food dollars to about half of all food expenditures.
 

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How to Calculate the Total Cost of Ownership of a Grease Trap

Messy Grease TrapIf you’re about to purchase a new grease trap you need to consider more than just the initial cost of the unit.

Like any piece of industrial equipment, grease traps have costs that go far beyond the initial capital cost. In fact, over a period of many years, capital costs are likely to make up just a small percentage of the total cost of ownership for a grease interceptor.

Grease trap and grease interceptor costs fall into three categories:

Initial purchase cost

Initial purchase costs will depend on several factors, including how large a unit you need, whether you need multiple units and the type you choose.

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