Consultant Q&A: Trish Jass, senior equipment specialist, Robert Rippe & Associates, Minnetonka, Minn.

FE&S: What are the requirements in terms of hand sink placement in foodservice operations?

TJ: Operators should have a hand sink in every work station. A general guideline is that these should be located no more than 20 feet from each work area, although requirements are subject to local codes.

FE&S: In terms of sink design, what are key considerations?

TJ: As far as purchasing, one of the things we look for is that sink bowls are large enough. We’ve had issues with smaller bowls that are hard to work with and get a lot of splash. We also look for sinks with finished edges that are fully welded and polished so as not to harbor bacteria.

FE&S: What should operators consider when mounting a hand sink?

TJ: The sink should be specified with wall and side mounting brackets so it is straight and securely mounted. If wall-mounted sinks will be in a public area, it is worth considering different skirting options that enclose and conceal the plumbing.

FE&S: When deciding on a faucet, are there installation factors that need to be taken into account?

TJ: From a cost standpoint, we like to use faucets with nice wrist blade handles. We also prefer to do the larger 8-inch on center faucet assemblies. This requires certain specs from manufacturers, since many times these are designed for 4-inch on center installs. We also try to ensure the faucet is coordinated with the sink size. It shouldn’t take up a majority of the sink bowl or be too close to the edge. The faucet gooseneck should not be too narrow or sit too far back since this makes it difficult to reach the water for handwashing.

FE&S: What are the latest hand sink technologies that operators are seeking?

TJ: As far as hands-free operations, we have clients that like electronic eye faucets. There are new ones where the flow of water regenerates the unit’s battery so it doesn’t need constant replacing. Operators will pay a premium for this feature.

FE&S: Are there instances where undermount sinks are preferable?

TJ: If the hand sink will be built into the serving area counter, we prefer to do an under-mount sink. We have to be careful because not all are not up to local codes. Also, the seam between the counter and sink can harbor bacteria, so drop-in sinks may be required by the municipality. However, this type is not preferred from a visual perspective. For drop-in and under-mount sinks, we usually specify a 10-inch by 14-inch size that is 9 inches deep.

FE&S: What are the advantages and disadvantages of hand sink foot pedals?

TJ: Many institutions request foot pedals, but there are mixed opinions. On the positive side, there’s no dealing with an electronic eye that’s out of adjustment. However, one of the main gripes is that even if pedals go up, it’s one more thing to clean around. Plus, these sinks can cost twice as much as wall-mounted units.

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