You’re putting the kitchen where, and you want the waste to do what?
You could not dream of a better spot for a restaurant. Sitting right on the strip in Las Vegas in the newly remodeled The Quad Resort and Casino is the home of Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar.
It is the perfect location except for one thing: due to space constraints, some of Fieri’s kitchen was to go in the basement – several dozen feet below the point of connection to city sewer lines. What had been a true basement storage room with no plumbing or drainage was to be transformed into a full-service restaurant kitchen with four feet of dirt between the kitchen ceiling and the floor of the restaurant.
That same basement had a NV Energy easement running straight through, which prevented contractor work and waste pipe routing anywhere practical or in close proximity. That meant all the waste piping would have to go up; way up.
One option considered was to put in two sewage ejector pumps on either side of the easement. But you know how it is when you have grease waste. You have to have emulsion heaters inside the tanks, and the whole system becomes a maintenance nightmare.
Instead, JBA Consulting Engineers pitched the owners on an AcornVac system which they felt would be much more reliable than sewage ejector pumps. Instead of trying to pump the waste out, the vacuum system would literally lift it under negative pressure or suck it right out with three key benefits – the vacuum system doesn’t require emulsion heaters; it isn’t the maintenance nightmare that sewage ejection of greasy waste can be; and the vacuum waste piping network doesn’t allow waste to leak out of the piping.
Richard Findlay of JBA said that while Vacuum plumbing was not new to them, this particular situation was a first. It was a first for AcornVac as well. Could it even be done?
This particular vacuum plumbing system would be designed and built to meet the project’s special and unique requirements. A Vacuum system consisting of vacuum pumps and waste collection tanks for grease waste and sanitary waste was installed on both sides of the easement.
Five “accumulators” or temporary collection points were installed in the basement to initially receive waste from the kitchen plumbing fixtures, and a total of three vacuum pumps and six waste collection tanks and were located in the mezzanine above the restaurant to ultimately receive and discharge the waste to a grease interceptor or directly to the sanitary sewer line.
Findlay explained that because the waste was being lifted so high vertically, a special staged or “ladder” piping system had to be designed and incorporated to carry the waste high enough to reach the vacuum center waste collection tanks.
The AcornVac vacuum system is capable of lifting waste vertically about 25’ before special engineering attention is required. But in this situation the waste was being lifted higher than 40 feet before its final discharge to sanitary sewer line.
Then, to throw another wrench into the situation, the mockup of the system was done using plastic piping to determine form and fit; however, Las Vegas local code would not allow for PVC waste piping.
Ultimately the project was installed using Schedule 10 stainless steel grooved pipe and fittings. Because stainless steel pipe has more friction than plastic pipe, flow rate calculations also had to be adjusted.
AcornVac engineers were on site to study the operational dynamics of the system as it was installed and to adjust operating parameters to suit the drainage needs.
A food service consultant was brought in to consult on kitchen area drainage requirements at peak operation in order to provide a vacuum drainage system with maximum operating efficiency.
It was determined that the waste flow rates were significantly different on the north and south sides of the kitchen. The majority of the kitchen workload is on the south side of the kitchen, including drainage for a 180-gallon multi-compartment sink. That resulted in a constant waste flow rate of approximately 15 GPM on the south side.
During the construction process, it was discovered that the easement, which had been thought to travel only east and west through the work area, actually turned north at the tail end. The discovery required some on the spot redesign.
Findlay said that at first it was a little scary when the kitchen equipment was commissioned.
Through a service access opening, you could look straight into the accumulator and watch the waste water rise, as it drained from the multi-compartment sinks. Proper design and minor adjustments allowed the system to efficiently accommodate the incoming effluent flow rates.
So far all is working well. Next time you are in Las Vegas, stop for lunch or dinner at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar in The Quad and ask for a seat next to a large brick pillar right near the front of the restaurant. You’ll be the only one who knows that behind that pillar is an intricate system of pipes that is part of the vacuum system, lifting kitchen waste up, up, up and out.