WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities
Dipper wells are used in some restaurants, coffee houses, and ice cream shops to
rinse utensils between uses. Most dipper wells have a single spigot and a valve that
controls the flow of either hot or cold water into a receiving well. Shops often have
dipper wells running constantly during service hours to provide a continuous ex-
change of the water in the well, in order to reduce the potential for bacterial growth.
Dipper wells have flow rates between 0.5 and 1.0 gallon per minute (gpm).
Food service locations should ensure that the requirements of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services Food Code
are met when considering changes to
facility operations that may involve installing, retrofitting, or replacing a dipper well.
Operation, Maintenance, and User Education
For optimal dipper well efficiency, consider the following:
Turn off water when service periods are slow and the dipper well is not in use. Also,
turn off the water to the dipper well at the end of each day. Be sure to clean the
dipper well prior to restarting the water in order to remove any bacterial buildup.
Keep the flow rate of the dipper well valve at its minimum level. Some munici-
palities recommend no more than 0.3 gpm.
Consider rinsing utensils with a sink faucet only as needed, rather than using the
To reduce the water use associated with a dipper well, consider installing an in-line
flow restrictor to reduce the flow rate from 0.5 or 1.0 gpm to 0.3 gpm.
When looking to replace dipper wells, consider these options:
Install a push-button, metered faucet for utensil rinsing.
If the facility has enough utensils to run full dishwasher loads, consider installing
an ENERGY STAR® qualified, commercial undercounter dishwasher
the dipper well to wash utensils after use. These commercial dishwashers can use
less than 1.0 gallon per rack.
East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). 2008.
WaterSmart Guidebook—A Water-Use Efficiency Plan Review Guide for New Businesses
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA Food Code 2009: Chapter 3—Food. Sections 3-304.11 and 3-304.12.
Arizona Department of Water Resources.
Implementing a Water Management Plan Checklist for Facility Managers
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Energy Department’s (DOE’s) ENERGY STAR. Commercial Dishwashers.